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Sharmila Bhattacharya on Studying How Biology Changes in Space

Season 1Mar 30, 2018

A conversation with Sharmila Bhattacharya, senior scientist in the Space Biosciences Research branch at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

Sharmila Battacharya working in lab

A conversation with Sharmila Bhattacharya, senior scientist in the Space Biosciences Research branch at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.


Host: You’re listening to NASA in Silicon Valley, episode 84!

This week our guest is Sharmila Bhattacharya, senior scientist in the Space Biosciences Research branch here at NASA Ames. Sharmila tells a great story about how and why NASA does biology research. A lot of that takes place on the International Space Station to understand how biology changes in microgravity.

Coming up in 2019, Sharmila and others will take those studies farther than they’ve ever been before. A small satellite called Biosentinel will hitch a ride on NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System. At a distance out near the Sun, this experiment will study the effects of space radiation on Earth biology.

Now, let’s get right to it and hear from Sharmila Bhattacharya herself!


Host (Matthew Buffington): Welcome, Sharmila. We always start the podcast the same way. We just kind of want to get to know a little bit about you, so tell us, how did you join NASA? How did you end up in Silicon Valley?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yeah, so I actually came for a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: So, I was on the East Coast before that. I was doing – I finished my graduate work at Princeton University in molecular biology, and I was using – yeah, this is actually kind of an interesting story in some ways, because I worked with yeast cells. And yeast cells – you know, the same kind of yeast cells you make bread or beer with?

Host: Exactly.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: But it’s scientifically actually very, very valuable. So, the genetics are extremely well-characterized, and it’s a very useful organism. So, I was using it as a model to understand how cancer cells grow, and how the unregulated growth of cancer cells, how that comes about, using yeast cells. And that was my graduate work.

And then I come here. I actually changed areas a little bit, and so for my postdoctoral work I started working with fruit flies, which again, you might say, “Fruit flies? Who actually does that?” But they are a very, very useful model organism also for studying a variety of different biological systems.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: So, whether it’s the nervous system, or the immune system, or circadian rhythm. So, the Nobel Prize that was just announced a little while ago for this year has been given actually to folks that work with drosophila or fruit fly, for circadian rhythms.

Host: That has to do with sleep, right?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Sleep. Exactly. Exactly. And how people – like how is sleep regulated? What happens if you don’t sleep enough? What sorts of genes are involved in helping sleep come about? All of that. Learning the genetic pathway of what’s happening was actually discovered through flies.

Host: I had an interesting conversation with somebody earlier, talking about artificial intelligence. They’re like, “When are the robots going to take over?” And I had this thought where I’m just like, “We barely understand why humans sleep, let alone replicate the human mind. I think we’re kind of far away from that.”

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Absolutely. Exactly. We are still a little ways from that. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Host: But understanding sleep, yeast and fruit flies – I’m sure people are like, when you think of NASA, you don’t think of yeast or fruit flies.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes. As being an important organism, right? Exactly.

Host: How does it go from working on this stuff, and then landing in NASA of all places?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And then coming to NASA. Exactly. So, I was – turns out I was working from home one day while I was working at Stanford and doing a postdoc, and working on a manuscript for publication of some of my data. And those were the days when you still used the newspaper to look for jobs.

Host: Oh. Interesting.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And so, I happened to thumb through the San Jose Mercury News, and in the job ads was an ad from NASA Ames looking for – and I kid you not – looking for a Ph.D. biologist who had worked with yeast and fruit flies.

Host: Shut up!

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly! I was like, “No. You’ve got to be kidding me.” I had to pinch myself.

Host: Well, it helps to be local. Because you wouldn’t find that in Ohio or in D.C.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly.

Host: Oh, that’s too funny.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. Right? So then I apply, and it was – first I came in through Lockheed Martin. So, it was a position through Lockheed. And yeah. I get one interview, and then a few weeks later a second interview, and then, lo and behold, as I’m finishing up my postdoc at Stanford, I immediately get a position here.

So, I started here working actually on habitats, biological habitats, that can be flown and tested and experimented on in the International Space Station –

Host: Really?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – using these model organisms like yeast and like fruit flies to understand biological processes that are very important for humans, and for astronauts and so on. But more at the basic, molecular biology, mechanistic sort of a level.

And some of these organisms, you know, apart from being very genetically very well-characterized, and there are a lot of mutants that you can study so you can really understand how specific genes function in specific tasks.

Host: So, fruit flies or yeast, they’re simple enough that –

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly.

Host: – you know this gene does this. Whereas if it’s a human, or a monkey, or a mouse, it’s more complicated?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: It’s much more complicated. Exactly. And for a variety of reasons actually. One reason it’s more complicated in humans is often humans have a lot of redundancy.

Host: Oh, interesting.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And it’s built-in intentionally because you don’t want the system to fail.

Host: Yes.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:So, some particular pathway – one particular gene that may be important for one step in say metabolizing or digesting carbohydrates in your body, there might be many copies of that.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:So, then you don’t really – so even if one of them is not functioning that well, it’s very hard to really understand what your end result is going to be because the others are doing the job for it. Right?

Host: Yeah. There are like so many other factors, other things that could play into –

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. It’s so much more complex.

Host: So, if you keep it simple, a simple organism, then you really know – I guess you can find a more causal relationship, I guess?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. That’s exactly right. Exactly right. So, when you are for example seeing a change in, say, how carbohydrate is metabolized, or how oxidative stress is happening, you can understand it more easily sometimes in these really well-defined, simple model organisms. And then in many of the cases, depending on what you’re looking at, that particular genetic pathway might be very similar to the human pathway in many cases.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Like for example for the fly, if you look at all the genes of the human that you know are important for function, because if you have any kind of mutation in that gene you get a disease, a manifested human disease, and there is a database called OMIM [Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man] that catalogs these human disease genes. And you take those genes, and you compare it with your fruit fly genes, for example –

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – you’d get at least a 75 percent match. So, in other words, there are 75 percent of the genes in the fruit fly that actually have a very close functional match to the ones in the human.

Host: So, if you’re looking at – I guess the core of it is, when you’re looking at yeast or fruit flies, I guess the idea is how it behaves here in gravity is different [than] when it’s out up in the space station floating around?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly.

Host: Why? How is that?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: That’s a really good question, and actually that’s something a lot of scientists – not just at NASA but people that are being funded by NASA or these other organizations like CASIS [Center for the Advancement of Science in Space], et cetera – they’re all looking at that question of, we know that there are differences in how an astronaut responds in a space environment, especially when they’re there for long periods of time.

Host: And most people think of like your muscles atrophying. There are some basic things that you kind of get.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes. Or your bone will be losing –

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:But there are also other physiological effects. For example, the immune system gets altered. And so, there is this idea that if your microorganism – your bacteria and fungi and so forth –

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:– other scientists have shown that some of those are also altered when they’re in spaceflight in terms of their function.

Host: Really?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And then the host – i.e., human or whatever else the host be, a plant or whatever it is – but let’s say with humans, if you have any change in the immune system for the astronaut, and plus the microorganisms up there may be growing – for one thing, they may be causing biofilm or biofouling.

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: They may be found – because it’s a closed environment, and so they may be found, the astronaut might ingest it. And so, it’s very important to kind of understand what are some of the underlying molecular pathways behind how the astronaut is going to respond. And that way, you can start sending up prophylactics. You’ll know what medication to send. You’ll know how much of something or the other is a real problem versus nothing to worry about.

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And so that’s the sort of thing that we’re using some of these model organisms to actually understand.

Host: So how does that work in terms of conducting an experiment? Do you get it all packaged up in a little box?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly.

Host: Do the astronauts actually do it, or is it self-contained? Or how does that work?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Excellent question. It depends on the platform you’re using.

Host:Okay. That makes sense.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:So, one of the experiments that we’re doing for example with the fruit fly, the astronauts will help us to change out and give them new food and so on and so forth. But then most of the analysis that we do, we do back on the ground. And yes, we do use boxes. Not very big boxes; that’s the other advantage with fruit flies because they’re so small. In a box that’s the size of a bread box you would get a very comfortable population of over 4,000 fruit flies coming back down.

Host: And I’m thinking of old science classes from high school, where you’d have your control group, and then the group that’s getting whatever treatments or something, so you can see the differences.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:Exactly.

Host: Do you do something similar on Earth? Because a group with gravity and without gravity?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. A control. Exactly. So, you have the exact same box with the same temperature, same lighting, same everything, except one box is on Earth and then its sibling cohort of flies –

Host: Yes.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – is in space, basically. And then after the spaceflight, when you do your work and your analysis on the flies, you do that and you compare between those cohorts.

Host: What have we learned? What is something crazy, strange, or interesting that you didn’t think of, but that you’ve learned from just that absence of gravity just fundamentally changes stuff?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yeah. You know, there are actually a lot of different things that one is learning. For example, the immune system. We find that the immune system and the way it responds is different.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Depending again on what you look at, there are changes in how the immune cells actually proliferate, and how efficient they might be in let’s say engulfing or phagocytosing a microbial –

Host: Engulfing? Fraggle-tyse-?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Phagocytosis.

Host: I’m going to need you to help me out, Sharmila.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes.

Host: Please go on. In simpler detail.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes. Yes. So, phagocytosis is this process of actually engulfing or swallowing a microbial particle that either you might have ingested or has entered into your blood system.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And so, one of the ways in which your immune system will make sure that you don’t get very sick is that these immune cells will actually capture this invading microorganism to prevent it from –

Host: This is stranger danger.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:Exactly.

Host: Go get ’em.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. Exactly.

Host: Oh really? And so, the way it does that in gravity is different from zero gravity?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Is different. Exactly.

Host: Is it better at it, or is it not as good at it?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Again, that depends on the system. What we studied actually was not as good at doing it.

Host: Oh, interesting.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: So, what we did is we got these flies back from space, and then we gave them an infection with a particular kind of a bacteria. And the efficiency with which the blood cells were able to engulf this bacteria was actually reduced. So, it was less –

Host: Really?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – less efficient at clearing out this bacteria. Now, it also depends on what microorganism you use.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: If you are using a fungi versus a bacteria, and even within bacteria, different bacteria may have different responses. And so, we’re in the process of looking at that.

Host: Yeah. I would imagine you’re going to have a bad day if you’re sending an astronaut or somebody is going up to space, working, and then they come back and then they start getting really sick.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. Exactly.

Host:Especially if we start looking at longer-term things, up to the Moon, to Mars.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. Exactly.

Host: It’s like you don’t want your astronauts getting horrifically sick and weakened immune systems.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. Exactly. And then on another track –

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya:– so your other question of, “What kind of experiments do you do, how do you do it, how automated is it?” So on the flip side, this first one that I told you about is more on the International Space Station where there is a lot of crew and they’re actually able to be there and participate and help you with the experiment. Then there is another way of doing experiments, and this other experiment that I’m really also very excited about, called BioSentinel, for example –

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – that we’re working on. And that uses the yeast cell.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And there, the experiment is pretty much self-contained, because we’re going to launch it on the Exploration Mission-1, for example, and then it is what is called a secondary payload, which means it will then – the EM-1 mission, Exploration Mission-1, goes around let’s say the Moon and comes back on its test run.

Host: And for folks who are maybe not as aware of this, this is–you’re not talking about sending this experiment up to the space station and back.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: No.

Host: You’re putting it on the new – is it the SLS?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: The big rocket. Yes. Exactly.

Host: Space [Launch] System rocket. This would go to the Moon?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. So, it’s going to go around the Moon, but it’s going to basically have that heavy lift capability to get us deep into space, beyond ISS [the International Space Station] and beyond low-Earth orbit.

Host: Low-Earth orbit. Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. And so, we’re going to take a piggyback ride on that particular rocket, and then we – because we are a self-contained box, and we are literally like a very large bread box – we will then get ejected at some point and our trajectory will be to go around the Sun, for example.

Host: Oh, really? Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And so, we will basically be at those kinds of distances away from the Earth. And we will not get this experiment back.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: But we will get all our data back by what is called telemetry. So, we will be – our spacecraft, so it’s self-sustained, so a group at Ames, there is an engineering team that’s actually building the spacecraft.

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: There is another group that’s working on getting our experiment automated so that the fluidics and all of this that will help feed our cells, all of that is automated and it’s compatible with our cells, and then we have imaging –

Host: Oh, wow.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – and then there is software that runs all of this. So, all of that complexity –

Host: It’s the whole science-experiment-in-a-box.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly.

Host: Running.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: With a lot of different expertise and a lot of different people working on it.

Host: And for the most part, are you guys just getting data back?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Data back.

Host: So, it’s not like you have to tell it to do stuff or steer it around, or inject things, or –

Sharmila Bhattacharya: No. In fact, all of that – we do tell it that. But all of that is usually programmed before you send it out.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: But if you change your mind – let’s say you start seeing the first set of data, and then you’re like, “You know what? Instead of starting the second batch of cells a month later, I’m actually going to start it a week or two earlier because I’m seeing something really interesting right now.”

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Or there is some solar flare, or some particular radiation event that’s particularly strong happening right now because of the Sun’s activity –

Host: There is another factor you could look into.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: You can look at that. And then you can actually even – from the Earth, you can command it to run your stuff. So, there is a basic program that lets it do its thing, but then you can also send commands to make it happen faster.

Host: So how does that work? It launches from the Earth, heads to the Moon – are you guys basically slingshotting it around the Moon and then around the Sun?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. That’s exactly what’s happening. And what’s cool about this experiment – and again, these are these simple, little yeast cells – but what we’re doing is we are using these yeast cells as a very sensitive calibrator or sensor to understand the effects of this deep space radiation that I was talking about.

And again, as you can imagine, as we contemplate sending humans to deep space orbits for long periods of time – go to Mars and back, go to the Moon and back, stay on the Moon for a while and do some work, get something running and then come back – When you’re out there in those radiation environments, it’s important for us to understand, “What will that radiation environment do to the biology?”

And if we do see some specific effects, how long does it take to see those effects? What are the underlying genetic changes that are happening? What are some of the countermeasures? What can we do about it? Which we can only figure out once we know what the actual changes are.

Host: It’s an interesting thing about being here at NASA in Silicon Valley and NASA Ames, people think of Florida when you’re thinking of launching the rockets. You think of Houston as training astronauts and talking – Ames has this really broad portfolio where it’s like they do bioscience –

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes. Exactly.

Host: They do small satellites. They’re doing autonomous systems and all this vast range. But thinking of BioSentinel, it’s almost like it’s got a little piece of all of those things. So, for you, you don’t have to work with another center or research institute somewhere else; they’re all sitting here.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. Exactly. And that’s what makes this area actually so interesting, because exactly like you pointed out, we’re working not only with all the expertise here at Ames, which is a very diverse set –

Host: Yeah. It’s extremely diverse.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – the software, the robotics, the spacecraft, all of the automation, the telemetry –

Host: And your biologists and the chemists.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: The biology – exactly. Exactly. We have – in our team we have chemists that are helping us with some of the reaction rates and calculations for that. So, there is all of that. And then JSC, [NASA’s] Johnson Space Center, for example, is building a physical dosimeter which will measure those –

Host: What is a dosimeter?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Dosimeter is an instrument that measures the radiation.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: So, it will tell you the dose of different particle types, for example, that your spacecraft and that your payload – payload is basically your little experimental box – is experiencing. Then you can use that information to compare with the biology that’s also being altered by the radiation, and there you are seeing a phenomenological effect.

So, you’re seeing some biological change because of the radiation, and then you look at that and then you compare it with the data that you get from the spectrometer to say that, “Oh, when the radiation doses were really high, these are some of the changes that we saw in our cell.”

Host: Oh wow. Do you already have an idea of what you expect to see from this? Did you already have an anticipation? What’s your hypothesis?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: That’s a good question. Yes. Yes. Exactly. No, that’s an excellent question. And yes, we do, for a couple of reasons. One, we are doing a lot of ground testing on Earth before we fly this.

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Because as you can imagine, you have to characterize your system really well before you can actually fly it, so that when you get the data back you actually know what to make of it.

And so, we’re doing a lot of studies at Brookhaven National Labs and at different proton facilities in hospitals that are normally used for cancer therapy, but you can also use some of those same instruments to give targeted radiation doses to your cells and thereby study what the changes are – when you give it this kind of dose, these are the kinds of effects that you’re seeing on the DNA. Or this is the kind of effect that you’re seeing in terms of changes of your gene expression levels.

And then you know that, “Okay, every time I see this particular change in the growth pattern, it correlates with doses of this kind of radiation.”

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And so, you characterize your experiment and your system on the ground, with known amounts of radiation for example. And then send it out there into this environment where there is no gravity, and there is radiation. And there could be other factors that are also different. You know, there are other launch stressors. There are other things happening there as well.

And then you look at how your biology responds, and then you compare it. And again, like you pointed out earlier, you have the exact same copy of the experiment on the ground, and so you compare what’s happening in space versus ground and how they’re different, in the same hardware that’s treated otherwise identically except that one is in space and the other one is on the ground.

Host: So, what is your timeline? How are you looking at this? You’re still working on it?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes.

Host: Launching, you have to get it all scheduled?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes. As you can imagine, it takes quite a while to get ready to get the experiment off the ground and do the work.

Host: Literally and figuratively.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. So, 2019 is our current target for when we’re going to be flying this experiment.

Host: And to hitch a ride on EM-1.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: And to hitch a ride on EM-1. And before that, or parallel with that, or perhaps before that, we also plan to fly a copy on the international Space Station –

Host: Oh, good.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – where you have a little bit less – so it’s a more benign radiation environment, but it also doesn’t have gravity. So, you can start to separate out effects that you see that are in deep space on the EM-1 mission when we get shot out there, where you have no gravity but you have a lot of radiation, and then you look at the ISS where you have no gravity either, but you have less radiation. And then you look on the ground where you have gravity and you have less – much less – radiation.

And so, then you – and that’s why I call it a bio-calibration or a bio-dosimeter in some ways, because you’re measuring the biological effect of this radiation, and you’re doing it really as a comparative thing where you’re looking under different environments to see how this exact same biology in the exact same hardware, how is it responding to these different environments?

It’s cool to study what will happen to a biological system or to a human in space, yes. We know already that humans have been to space and come back, so we know the good news is that we can do it. But we do need to understand the detailed changes, so that when we’re there for long periods we know how we’re going to respond.

But in addition to that, I think what’s really interesting is we learn a lot about how our bodies function on Earth from doing these studies in space. And what do I mean by that? Well, on the ground, gravity is a given. We’re surrounded by this environment of being in gravity. So, it’s very hard if not impossible to remove that gravity vector from biology when you do experiments on the ground. So, one fundamental aspect of understanding how our bodies are wired and how it functions, it’s very interesting how much you can learn about how these complex biological systems develop on Earth by studying them in this environment where you don’t have gravity.

In other words, you can use this information to understand some of the detailed ways in which biological system actually develops from a one-celled stage to a multi-cell organism that functions in a certain way on the Earth by studying how it – and then an easier way to think about it is – for example, the fact that you brought up earlier is you know that there is muscle loss in space in a lack of gravity, right?

Host:Yeah. Exactly.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: You also know that there is muscle loss with aging on Earth, or with certain people with certain diseases.

Host: Or bone losses, osteoporosis, all of those things.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly. Bone loss with osteoporosis. There are certain muscle-wasting diseases that people have genetically on the ground. You can think of spaceflight in some ways almost as a platform that allows you to do accelerated studies, so you’re getting accelerated effects that you would normally take a very long time to do a study for an aging adult or an aging human. It would take you many, many decades to do that study on the ground. But in some ways, you can use the spaceflight platform to answer some of those questions in a shorter timeline.

Host:Does gravity make that much of an effect?

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly.

Host: How is that? That seems crazy.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly, right? And that’s where I think it points to how fundamental and how important gravity is. On the other hand, that’s not to say that we can’t function without gravity.

Host: Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: We just have to understand exactly how we will function without gravity over long periods of time, so that we can – if there are any detrimental things that we need to counteract, that we understand that and we’re ready for it, so that when we do the long duration spaceflight we know – for example, we may know that we’re going to have to give astronauts this period of time, so many hours a day, where their muscles and bones are weighted –

Host: Okay.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – so that they don’t lose those tissue masses or we know that we have to send them up with these prophylactic medications or these foods –

Host: Or exercises, I guess. Yeah.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Or exercises. Exactly. Which will really help –

Host: Mitigate.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: – counteract some of these immune impairments that they may experience for example. Stuff like that. So that’s how it will help us, because gravity, we know, is a given on Earth. We’ve all evolved – all our biological systems currently on Earth have evolved in that environment.

Host: Yeah. You figure millions of years of evolution with gravity, then you remove that huge factor, then things get weird.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Exactly.

Host: So definitely, as we start looking towards 2019 as we get closer, we’re going to have to have you back.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes!

Host: Especially as you’re all hyped and excited for the actual launch. Or even after the experiment takes place.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Yes. To fly the experiment. Yes.

Host: So, we’ll definitely be hearing more from Sharmila.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: I look forward to that. This is really fun.

Host: It is fun. For folks who are listening who want to hear more from Sharmila

we’re using the hashtag #NASAsiliconvalley. In the short term if people have questions for you, we’ll loop you in. Or we can add that in for the next time. But thank you so much for coming over.

Sharmila Bhattacharya: Absolutely. It was a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Host:You have been listening to the NASA in Silicon Valley podcast. Remember we are a NASA podcast, but we are not the only NASA podcast so don’t forget to check out our friends at “Houston We Have a Podcast”. There’s also “Gravity Assist”, there’s “This Week at NASA” and if you’re a music fan, don’t forget to check out “Third Rock Radio”. The best way to capture all of the content is to subscribe to our omni-bus RSS feed called “NASAcasts” or visit the NASA app on iOS, Android, or anywhere you find your apps.