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People with a passion for space exploration are being offered the chance to take part in an out-of-this-world project that could benefit future missions to the Moon and beyond.
The Space Medicine Team at the European Space Agency's European Astronaut Centre in Germany, working in collaboration with the University of Plymouth and other partners, is looking for volunteers to help develop an understanding of what happens to the human body following a long space mission.
To achieve this goal, scientists are working to gather, analyse and process existing scientific evidence on biological responses to ionizing radiation, which is found extensively outside Earth’s orbit and is one of the key health risks facing astronauts.
They will particularly focus on the differences between the radiation’s impacts on women and men, and the effects of space radiation on the Central Nervous System.
The results of the international project will be used to improve health risk predictions for European Space Agency astronauts on future missions.
Professor Mona Nasser, Professor in Clinical Epidemiology and Oral Health Research at the University of Plymouth, has been working with the European Space Agency for several years and is a key part of this new initiative.
“Ionising radiation is a major challenge for human health protection during spaceflight. This is because of the accumulated difficulties in understanding the hazards, simulating space radiation in a laboratory environment for experimental purposes, and developing effective countermeasures. Assessing the existing scientific literature will be a positive step in that quest. But what makes this project genuinely exciting is it gives people all over the world the chance to contribute to cutting edge science that will ultimately enhance our ability to learn more about our solar system.”
Professor Mona Nasser is working with the European Space Agency
Professor Mona Nasser
A group from the European Astronaut Centre’s Space Medicine Team has already begun conducting a systematic review of existing literature on radiation protection.
They initially recruited 33 volunteers, who completed a review of more than 2,000 scientific papers in a month to assess if they could be useful in the ongoing research.
The group is now looking for hundreds more volunteers who would be trained to analyse thousands more papers, with the findings being used to directly influence astronaut’s preparations for space missions in the future.
Dr Anna Fogtman, Crew Exploration Scientist at the European Astronaut Centre, added:
“By supporting our project, people will not only join an inspiring community of science and space enthusiasts, but also have a chance to make a real impact on space medicine. There is no better way to improve the safety of human space flight than through truly democratic science. Participants in our citizen science project will receive a certificate and acknowledgement on a scientific publication of the study’s results. There might even be other surprises in store for the most active citizen scientists.”
For more information about how to get involved with the citizen science project, access the Citizen Science Project form on the European Space Agency website or email the project group directly on
Professor Mona Nasser with the STARS (Systematic Treat Analysis of Radiation from Space) project team at the European Astronaut Centre (European Space Agency) in Germany. Photo taken by Nelly Ivanova

Professor Mona Nasser with the STARS (Systematic Treat Analysis of Radiation from Space) project team at the European Astronaut Centre (European Space Agency) in Germany. Photo taken by Nelly Ivanova


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