It’s that time of year again: ESA is calling medical research doctors to spend a year on the ice conducting researching into how humans adapt to living in extreme environments – as a stand-in to spaceflight.

Do you have a medical degree, an interest in space exploration and the fortitude to spend almost a year in isolation Antarctica, the world’s largest desert? Read on!

The job

ESA sponsored medical doctors at Concordia research Station
ESA sponsored medical doctors at Concordia research Station

Located at the mountain plateau called Dome C in Antarctica, Concordia research station is one of only three that is inhabited all year long. It is a jointly run by the French Polar Institute IPEV and the Italian National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA).

Between the extreme altitude – 3233 m above sea level means the crew experience chronic hypobaric hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the brain – four months of total darkness during the winter, and temperatures as low as –80°C, the base is fertile ground to research the effects of isolated, confined, and extreme environments on the human body and mind.

For this reason, each year ESA sponsors a medical doctor to oversee biomedical experiments at the base.

The current research doctor, Sascha Freigang of Austria, recently took over the post from 2022 research MD Hannes Hagson of Sweden. He is acting much like an astronaut on the International Space Station, running experiments for researchers in more comfortable but less interesting environments and recording the data for analysis.

Basler plane
Basler plane

Concordia is currently hosting the summer season of researchers. About 60 researchers flock to the station to check equipment, set up sensors and run experiments for a few weeks. The last of the summer crew is expected to leave in February, and then the isolation begins. The 13-member crew will spend the next nine months with only each other for company as the sun begins to set, returning after four months.

Are you interested in the adventure of a lifetime or know somebody who might be? ESA is looking for the next research doctor for the 2024 winterover season to run experiments in this unique setting. A medical degree and an ESA member state nationality is required.

If you think you have what it takes, apply for the position of ESA research doctor by 20 January 2023.

Curious to know more about life on the base? Read the tales of previous research doctors on the Concordia blog to prepare.

Good luck to Sascha and the DC 19 crew! Follow Sascha’s year on the Chronicles from Concordia blog.

_ ESA also photo