Richard M. Linnehan
Dr. Linnehan has managed to combine two seemingly very different professional disciplines resulting in a career that has enabled him to practice on exotic and marine species while also carrying him on four missions to space. From zoo animal veterinarian to astronaut, he will discuss his career path, his space shuttle missions, and his broad experiences at NASA.
NASA veterinarians are responsible for the health of all NASA animal subjects - whether on the ground or in space. When ISS research involving animals is scheduled, a NASA veterinarian is consulted to ensure that the animals selected are appropriate models for those experiments and that proper care of those animals is maintained throughout the mission. This includes continually monitoring the health of all research animals, planning and conducting appropriate experiments, data collection and interpretation of research results in an effort to elucidate operational implementation for future NASA human space exploration missions.
While Dr. Linnehan is the only veterinarian in the NASA Astronaut Corps, other NASA veterinarians also work with researchers to study the physiological changes and long-term health effects of space travel that occur in humans and animals in the zero-g environment of space. This invaluable research has led to improved health monitoring and physiological countermeasures for astronauts - and animals - on current and future long-duration flights as a prelude to human exploration and colonization of space. This research has simultaneously provided improvements in health and quality of life to all humans on the surface of our small blue planet.