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Medical research on ice
Date:6/12/2008

New medical equipment recently delivered to the Antarctic station Concordia will help understand how our bodies physically adapt to this extreme environment - knowledge which could help prepare for a future human mission to Mars. ESA is currently looking for a candidate with a medical background to support projects at the research base.

The Antarctic station Concordia is located in one of the most hostile environments on the Earth. Built on an ice plateau at 3 200 m altitude, exposed to extreme isolation, temperatures, constant light in summer, constant darkness in winter and other stressors, a stay at Concordia is a huge challenge.

Harsh winter

For the up to 16 crewmembers that can be hosted in the station during the Antarctic winter, conditions are even more severe as the harsh environmental conditions make access to or from the station impossible. Any problems that occur need to be dealt with autonomously by the crew with the resources at hand.

Fortunately for ESA, many of the same constraints that naturally occur during the winter at Concordia are quite similar to those that can be expected for future crewed exploration missions, for example to Mars.

For this reason, in 2002, ESA established a cooperation with the builders and operators of the station; the French Polar Institute (Institute Paul Emile Victor, IPEV) and the Italian Antarctic Programme (Consorzio per l'Attuazione del Programma Nazionale di Ricerche in Antartide, PNRA S.C.r.l.). Next to some technology validation, the main focus of this cooperation is on medicine, physiology and psychology.

Long-Term Medical Survey

Together with the Concordia partners and a diverse group of experts, ESA has defined the Long-Term Medical Survey (LTMS); a list of physiological and psychological parameters that is collected by each Concordia crewmember, with the goal of enhancing knowledge about human adaptation in this extreme enviro
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Contact: Markus Bauer
markus.bauer@esa.int
31-715-656-799
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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