The CSA Announces Opportunity for Human Analog Studies

Canadian Healthcare in Deep Space: Advancing our country’s leadership in autonomous care in space and on Earth report. Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) today announced a new opportunity for human analog studies related to deep space exploration.

The CSA is offering an unspecified number of two year grants valued at $200,000 each for this new Announcement of Opportunity (AO). The application deadline is September 27, 2019.

Here is a portion of the introduction from the AO;

In the future, human exploration of space is expected to extend beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to cis-lunar space, the surface of the Moon, and ultimately to distant targets such as Mars. The resulting expeditions will require extended periods of exposure to weightlessness and space radiation, with confinement and isolation in the extreme environment of space, all of which are linked to substantial human health and performance risks.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is interested in human spaceflight and maintaining a healthy and highly qualified Canadian astronaut corps capable of participating in space exploration missions. Also, in line with the vision and priorities of the new Space Strategy for Canada, the CSA aims to enable scientific opportunities and global partnerships, and to harness space to solve everyday challenges for Canadians.

To achieve this, the CSA’s Health and Life Sciences (HLS) group conducts activities generating knowledge in fields that sustain human space flights, mitigate health risks and develop countermeasures for those missions. Since time and resources on the International Space Station (ISS) are limited, CSA aims to broaden science opportunities in order to enhance and supplement flight investigations on ISS and to optimize utilisation of CSA ISS allocation.

The intent of this AO is to provide financial support to researchers in Canadian Universities and post-secondary institutions to conduct science investigations that will lead to a better understanding of human spaceflight risks while contributing to improve remote medicine and health benefits here on Earth. The focus of research to be funded in this AO, will be on human-subject space analogue studies that reproduce the health and performance factors of space environments such as variable gravity, isolation, and confinement. Well-designed ground studies are valuable for improving the understanding of the risks of spaceflight or for initial validation of new countermeasures. The studies targeted in this AO are expected to be precursors of Canadian investigations on the ISS or other space research platforms.

The CSA objectives for this AO are;

Projects selected from this CSA competition will have as their objective to increase scientific knowledge that will contribute to the efforts toward the understanding, mitigation or elimination of health risks associated with human space exploration and generate scientific insights that will also contribute to applications on Earth.

More specifically, through this AO, the CSA seeks to:

  • Create an opportunity for new space life science experiments to generate new knowledge and insight into the risks of human space flight, with ultimate objective to keep astronauts healthy in space. Each proposed study is expected to be a direct precursor of future Canadian investigations on the ISS or other space research platform;
  • Advance understanding of similar health issues or applications on Earth, that could contribute to improving health care for Canadians;
  • Foster the development of highly qualified personnel (HQP), and inclusion of diversity of HQP in space HLS.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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