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Teams - Sam L. Pool, Assistant Director, Space Medicine/Space and Life Sciences Directorate, JSC

Sam Pool served as NASA's Assistant Director of Space Medicine in the Space and Life Sciences Directorate at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) during Phase 1. He and the flight surgeons were responsible for providing medical support to the astronauts and their families pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight, They were also in charge of training the crews in medical techniques necessary and potentially necessary on-orbit.

Pool has worked for NASA since the Apollo Program and helped to develop a set a of medical standards for spaceflight, which are used to medically screen astronauts. In his Oral History, Pool commented on how spaceflight affects the human body and why scientists study those effects:

"Flying in space, particularly in microgravity for long periods of time, is not very friendly to the human body. There are a lot of body functions which degrade. There's a fair amount of deconditioning that goes on, and the countermeasures, including exercise, which we have used over the years really haven't solved the problem. So we're still working that puzzle very hard to try to figure out how to do better.

"[The] cardiovascular system becomes less responsive, particularly on return to gravitational field. Bone mineral is lost. Neurophysiology is definitely affected. The Russians say - and I think they're quite correct - that returning cosmonauts from long missions can't play simple games that children play, because their coordination and so on is not up to it. That's certainly been proven true now that we've begun to fly with them and look at our people similarly."

Pool has also been involved in the development of the NASA/JSC biotechnology capability, a leading edge science that will benefit the International Space Station.

Sam Pool Oral History (PDF)

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty