Tasmania is the Australian hub of space medicine and life sciences with a long history, since 1993, of Australian Antarctic Division medical research and operational medicine collaboration with NASA. The Tasmanian Government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Australian Space Agency on highlighting collective expertise in remote and space medicine, space life sciences research, leadership, education and training and operational remote medical support. Research and innovation in space medicine importantly can inform and contribute to improved terrestrial health care in Antarctica and remote Australia.

Antarctica as a Space Analog

Operational Medicine, Training and Research from Australia’s Antarctic Program offers a hi-fidelity space analog ICE “Life in a Freezer”:

  • Isolation (up to 9 months (March–November) without access to evacuation)
  • Confined (small populations 16–25 expeditioners over winter)
  • Extreme environment hazards: Antarctic cold and wind, stressors, polar night
  • Limited sophistication of medical support
  • Physiology, Epidemiology, Behavioural Health and Psychology, Photobiology
  • Clinical and Operational Medicine and Training for Extreme Environments
  • Advanced telehealth and technology for training and clinical support

See also our Clinical, Education, Vocational Training and Research and Innovation pages.

Hypobaric/Hyperbaric Chamber

The new Hypobaric/Hyperbaric Chamber at the Royal Hobart Hospital in Hobart, Tasmania was launched on .

  • Unique capability in Southern Hemisphere
  • Versatile space and underwater medicine environmental research and treatment chamber
  • Human rated: 60 metres seawater depth transitioning up to 45000ft altitude pressures
  • Non-human rated: environmental research chamber to 100000ft altitude
  • Potential use cases – altitude, sleep, bedrest, neutral buoyancy simulation, hypoxia, programmable LED lighting, cold, remote operations, biologicals etc

Find out more about the Department of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Education: Space Medicine and Space Life Sciences

University of Tasmania and CARMM partners lead Australian education in space medicine through its popular Healthcare in Remote and Extreme Environments Academic short courses and pathway through to higher degrees. The UTAS collaboration with the Australian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ASAM) founded by aerospace medicine specialist Associate Professor Gordon Cable AM, the UTAS–ASAM Humans in Space Course and academic unit is a unique offering with international Aerospace Medicine faculty including Dr Bob Thirsk, Canadian Physician Astronaut, Dr Giles Clement and Dr Angie Bukley from Houston USA.

The Australian Antarctic Division trains Antarctic Medical Practitioners with generalist and procedural skills which are akin to the medical skills and training required on Exploratory Lunar or Mars Space Missions. Training is undertaken by CARMM partners including the Tasmanian Health Service, University of Tasmania and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

Training and support of lay members of expeditions in medical care, both in Antarctic and maritime environment, inform crew medical requirements for space missions.

You may also be interested in our Education, Vocational Training and Research and Innovation pages.