Students wanted for ESA Academy’s Online Human Space Physiology Training Course

What is it really like to live in space? What happens to the body in microgravity? Thanks to a training course offered by ESA’s Education and Space Medicine Teams, medical and life sciences university students can find out.


ESA’s Education Office and the Space Medicine Team invite BSc and MSc university students studying medicine, allied healthcare subjects, life, biomedical or biological sciences to apply to the Online Human Space Physiology Training Course 2020. The course will be held between 12 and 23 October 2020. Through interactive online lectures during the first week of the course, students will discover how spaceflight represents a significant physiological challenge to the human body. Having evolved in Earth’s gravity, our bodies adapt when in microgravity. Some of these adaptations may comprise astronaut health and wellbeing, either in flight or upon return to Earth. As a result, these adaptations must be understood in order to inform development of effective strategies to support humans during space missions to the International Space Station and beyond.  

In addition to learning about life in space and the physiological adaptations associated with it, students will discover how a range of Earth-based analogues, such as long-term (head down) bed rest and over-wintering in Antarctica, are used to investigate some of the potential underlying mechanisms. Finally, current and some potential future approaches to mitigate the effects of the space environment on the human body will be discussed.

During the second week of the programme, students will work on a remote team project, addressing some of the major issues and challenges human spaceflight is facing. Work will be distributed flexibly during this part of the training course to allow teams to tackle their tasks independently. Each team will be supported through virtual tutoring by an expert. On the final day of the course, each team will present their findings to the other participants. 

Students participating in this training course can expect to be introduced to the following topics: 

  • What it’s really like to live in space
  • The challenges, lessons, and successes that have led to permanent occupation of the International Space Station
  • The conditions that the ISS provides to protect and support life
  • How the senses perceive being ‘weightless’
  • How key physiological systems respond to microgravity, what mechanisms underlie these changes, and some approaches that may be used to mitigate such effects
  • How human space physiology research is performed both in space, and using Earth-based analogues
  • Major issues and challenges current human spaceflight and future space exploration must overcome

Upon completion of the training course, students will be evaluated on their team project and will receive a certificate of participation as well as a course transcript, allowing them to request ECTS credit(s) from their respective universities.

You can find out more about the course here.

The deadline for submission of completed applications is 10 August 2020 at 23:59pm CET.

Author

Antonio Duduianu

Antonio is currently studying towards a MEng in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bath.

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