Iowan Peggy Whitson On Living in Space

Dec 4, 2017

On September 3, Iowan Peggy Whitson returned from her most recent mission to the International Space Station. She has spent a total of 665 days in space during three separate missions. That's more than any other woman worldwide and more than any other American. 

Whitson grew up in Beaconsfield where her parents farm, and she says she's still proud to be an Iowan. During this River to River conversation, she talks with host Ben Kieffer. 

She says during her most recent stay on the space station, she was doing some research on cancer cells and the hands-on science she was working on made her stay very interesting. 

"We were growing lung cancer cells, cardiac cells, stem cells, and looking at changes. One of the most interesting things, we were doing a study looking at a drug antibody that would attack lung cancer cells. When you grow tissue on the ground, it tends to form a kind of two dimensional structure instead of a three dimensional structure like it would in your body. So in space it grows more like it would in your body," she explains. 

In the second half of the show, we listen back to a conversation Kieffer had with former astronaut and current Iowa State University engineering faculty member, Clayton Anderson.