Since 2001, ESA has been cooperating with the French Polar Institute
(Institute Paul Emile Victor, IPEV) and the Italian Antarctic Programme
(Programma Nazionale di Ricerche in Antartide, PNRA) on Human Research
activities carried out at the Antarctic station, Concordia.
of this cooperation include a common research announcement for human
research, the adaptation of technologies for grey water recycling to
Concordia, which ESA originally developed for spacecraft life support
systems (operating flawlessly since March 2005), and long-term medical,
psychological and microbial monitoring.

In view of ESA’s future
plans for human long-duration exploration missions, Concordia station
acts as a powerful analogue for these future missions, as it replicates
many of the expected conditions of a Lunar or Martian base. Such
conditions include isolation, confinement, high levels of autonomy and
social monotony, limited resources, restricted access by outside help in
case of emergencies and a hostile external environment.
In order to
support the implementation of scientific activities in the area of human
research, ESA is looking for a medical doctor to join the next
Concordia winter-over crew (leaving in the November 2019 timeframe).
Antarctica and the Location of Concordia Station

Concordia Station

station is a permanent international research facility at high altitude
on the Antarctic ice cap. The station was built by IPEV and PNRA
S.C.r.l. The station has been permanently crewed since November 2004.
objective of Concordia station is to operate as an international
research facility to conduct scientific programmes. The main fields of
research at Concordia are glaciology, atmospheric sciences, astronomy
and astrophysics, Earth sciences, technology, human biology and
The area in which Concordia station is located is considered to be one of the most hostile places on Earth.

Some characteristics of the extreme environment include:

  • An
    altitude of 3200m, equal to an altitude of almost 4000m at the equator.
    As such, air pressure is 645 hPa and results in chronic hypobaric
    hypoxic stress.
  • The time from mid-February to mid-November is
    considered the winter period with the summer-period lasting the rest of
    the year. Access to the station is only possible during the Antarctic
    summer season.
  • Overall
    mean temperature is -51°C, with a mean value of -30 °C during summer and
    -60 °C during winter (the lowest recorded temperature in Antarctica was
    recently found to be -97.7°C).
  • The landscape is “completely“ flat.
  • The challenges for a winter-over crew at Concordia are manifold. They include but are not limited to:
  • Prolonged isolation and confinement (typical duration of a stay in the station is 12- 13 months).
  • A fascinating, but hostile natural environment (extreme low outside-temperatures, chronic hypobaric hypoxia).
  • Autonomy:
    the crew needs to be autonomous and self-dependent especially from
    February to November, where no access to and from the station is
    possible, even in emergencies.
  • Life in a small multicultural
    setting (typically 12-14 crewmembers, with French and Italian as the
    main spoken languages and a variety of behavioural customs).
  • Limited mobility outside of the station buildings, especially during winter.
  • Night/Daylight variations (constant light in summer, constant darkness in winter).
  • Managing life with limited resources and in consideration of the environment.
order to implement ESA-selected human research activities at Concordia,
ESA and the operators of Concordia release a call for candidates for a
medical doctor as part of the next Concordia winter-over crew of 2020.

Tasks will include (non-exhaustive list):

  • Training
    for the implementation of human research experiments before departure
    at the respective home laboratories of selected experimenters.
  • Participation
    in the pre-departure meeting (one week in October), including briefing
    fellow crewmembers about the planned ESA human research programme.
  • Implementation
    of ESA-selected research experiments during the stay mainly in the
    areas of psychology, physiology and microbiology.
  • Routine reporting on the status of the implementation.
  • Sampling and analysis of recycled water.
  • Participation in the normal shared tasks of the station (housekeeping).
  • After the stay, providing a debriefing report (“lessons learned”).
is expected that the selected candidate will also participate as a test
subject in the ESA Human Research experiments. However, for the other
crewmembers, this participation is voluntary and can be stopped at any
time without consequences. Informed consent will be collected from
participating crewmembers prior to departure.
The selected candidate
will not be responsible for the operational medical provision for the
crew, but can support the Crew Medical Doctor if the need arises.

Candidate Profile:
  • Medical doctorate and work experience
  • Strong interest in medical and psychosocial research
  • Laboratory /research experience
  • Very good English language skills are essential; French or Italian language skills are desirable
  • Excellent health
  • No addictions
  • Nationality
    and residence in one of the ESA member states (Austria, Belgium, Czech
    Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
    Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal,
    Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom) or the ESA
    associated states (Canada and Slovenia).
  • Additionally, as a benefit:
  • Experience in wilderness/extreme environments medicine and other outdoor experience
  • A space-related background
Please refer to the link below for further details on the application procedure

Ansøgningsfrist : Deadline for applications: 14th January 2019.

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Oprettet d: 06/11/2018
Redigeret d 06/11/2018
  • Land: Antarctica, All

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