The European Space Agency is searching for a doctor to test how humans handle extreme environments

The European Space Agency (ESA) is searching for doctors who want to be part of humanity’s shift to a multi-planet species.

The agency posted a job specification online as it’s looking to send a lucky recruit with a medical degree – who also isn’t afraid of the dark or cold – to Antarctica for over six months, so they can conduct research in preparation for missions to the Moon and Mars.

“Each year we ask for applications from any of the 22 ESA member states,” said the ESA’s Jennifer Ngo-Anh.

“The experiments they run for us offer great insights into how astronauts will behave on long missions, and the stay in Antarctica is an adventure of a lifetime.”

Images courtesy of ESA

The ESA’s recruit will be sent to the agency’s Italian–French Concordia research station, which sits on an Antarctic plateau 3200m above sea level.

Its unique location and extreme conditions are designed to resemble aspects of living on another planet. So, for example, because the station is so far south the Sun does not rise above the horizon in the winter for four months, there is reduced oxygen in the air and temperatures outside can drop to –80°C.

However, the station’s new doctor will not be alone in the harsh setting as up to 15 people spend the winter in Antarctica each year, keeping the station running, with scientists working on glaciology, astronomy and climate studies.

It will be the responsibility of the ESA’s new doctor to research how humans adapt to living so far from home.

The new doctor will be expected to conduct experiments including observing the crew’s morale, tracking their skills over time and monitoring how their bodies cope with the change of rhythm and closed environment.

Much like astronauts in space, emergencies need to be handled by the station’s crew because there are no deliveries to the station for six months, leaving the Concordia crew in isolation.

If you feel up to the challenge you can find more information about the role here.

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