I love to ask questions.
Several years ago, I asked; “Can Chinese medicine work in Space?” Holding that question and following my curiosity have led me to one of the most inspiring and joyous adventures so far.
In the summer of 2015, I met Dr Cameron Smith, an Anthropology professor who makes DIY spacesuits in his studio. I met him at the Rose City Astronomers’ club meeting where he gave a talk on the importance of keeping space technologies open-sourced. He was the first person I shared my idea with about Chinese medicine in Space, and he did not think it was ludicrous. He was actually open to it. Although we did not have many interactions after that encounter, meeting Cameron helped me feel more confident.
In the summer of 2016, as part of a community outreach project for my school, I volunteered to give a talk at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. My topic was ” Classical Chinese Medicine in Space”. Initially, I had no clear idea what I was going to talk about, but just this sense that ‘something’ was ready to be unpacked. Throughout the talk preparation, I felt engaged and that a positive, joyous momentum was building. I felt so much joy and engagement that I decided to just keep going. Cameron attended my talk and he invited me to the open hours of his DIY Spacesuit-building sessions.
From there on, it was massive full-on building of spacesuits. I learnt all the ropes of how to build the different parts of a spacesuit. Cameron was very open to incorporating designs from a Chinese medicine/ biological perspective. Very soon, I realized that building a spacesuit could be like re-creating a human body (to a certain extent). I also liked the space of being completely, and utterly obsessed, with full-on intensity when we build the suits. We worked on most days, 9 – 10 hours straight. And every seam and stitch counts, because Cameron will rely on the suit for life-support, in a high altitude balloon at 60,000 feet, to test the suit.
Building the suits allowed me to make a proof-of-concept that it can be possible and beneficial to incorporate the use of Chinese medicine ( a form of non materialist-reductionist medicine) to space technologies.
In Fall of 2017, I was selected to present a poster at the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, a 4-day conference where space scientists, exotic jet propulsion physicists, and people who are interested in space travel, gather. My poster is on the use of Chinese medicine for human health in space (through the lens of a chinese herbal prescription that China had developed and used for their astronaut program).
Throughout this entire time, I feel the positive momentum, fun and joy of working on this topic. I hope you have as much listening to the talk and reading the articles in this blog.