Medical students land out of this world experience

Image courtesy of the European Space Agency

Two students from the University of Dundee are now considering careers in space medicine after trying their hand at interstellar internships with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Fifth-year medical students Amir Fathi and Neil Tan sampled space food, helped plan future space exploration projects and had one-on-one meetings with experts such as British astronaut Tim Peake during their eight weeks with the ESA at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Amir, from London, said, “Speaking with Tim Peake about his time on the International Space Station was a real privilege and has further inspired me to pursue the field after graduation.

“Generally, final-year students spend their electives in fields of medicine that are of interest to them, so I wanted to use my eight weeks to explore aviation and space medicine further.

“We spent most of our time at the ESA working on space exploration projects. For example, I was assigned to projects looking at the effects of visual function in space and its effect on balance, as well as looking into changes in fluid shifts in microgravity and how this impacts brain blood flow in astronauts.”

Neil added, “Our time with the ESA has given me a great insight into the world of not just space medicine but occupational health medicine. We received an incredible insight into what it means to be a flight surgeon - doctors who are exclusively trained to work with astronauts - as well as the pressures they face in space.”

Amir and Neil are set to finish their studies in June 2018, and both plan to take their first steps into space medicine, and beyond.

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