Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Medical research on ice

13.06.2008
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 environment.

To facilitate the collection of physiological data, ESA commissioned the development of an easy-to-use, minimally intrusive, integrated monitoring device, taking into account that the majority of Concordia crewmembers have no medical background. The first prototype was recently shipped to Antarctica and is now being evaluated by the Concordia crew.

Other interesting medical and psychological research is still ongoing at the station. For example, a current project investigates how blood clotting is affected by the high altitude at Concordia. This research is very relevant to understanding the 'economy class syndrome' - the risk of thrombosis when flying long-distance in airplanes. The psychological projects look for example at how the crew adapts to the extreme environment, or how they cope with the challenging situation. This type of research will also continue throughout the coming winter season.

As in recent years, ESA is sponsoring one crewmember with a medical background that will spend the winter season at Concordia to support these projects. Read the 'Call for candidates' at:

http://spaceflight.esa.int/users/index.cfm?act=default.page&level=16&page=2209

Markus Bauer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMWK0VG3HF_research_0.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>