Written by Myles Harris.
Myles is Space Health Research CEO and Founder. He led the UK’s first analogue mission that simulated the human exploration of another planet. Myles’ PhD is in Risk and Disaster Reduction, during which he researched how to mitigate risks to health in remote environments, including space.
Our Early Days
I am very pleased to welcome you to Space Health Research. In this blog article, I’ll share with you the background story that led to our establishment and tell you more about what we do.
As part of my PhD fieldwork at University College London, I set up a research group to investigate the risks to health in space. Our group included a diverse multidisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners. We wanted our work to benefit future space missions but also, crucially, to benefit life at home on Earth.
Our most ambitious project was an Analogue Mission that simulated the human exploration of another planet – the first of its kind in the UK! We achieved this by using a remote and uninhabited island in Scotland as our mission setting.
The location of our island was kept top secret, which meant that when we brought the Analogue Astronauts to the island they saw it for the first time, simulating an Astronaut seeing another planet for the first time. During the mission, we conducted a programme of research, just like during a mission in space. We tested newly developed health technology, conducted user experience research of a pharmacy product, and evaluated the impact of training before deploying to a high-stress environment. Feedback proved that, for the first time, we successfully simulated the human exploration of another planet in the
After our first mission, we knew we wanted to continue this work so more
people, organisations, and companies could benefit from analogue missions. So, Space Health Research was founded as a consultancy to specialise in analogue missions that simulate the exploration of space. At Space Health Research, we provide the following services:
1. Testing of technologies and equipment.
Analogue missions allow space agencies, researchers, and companies to test new technologies and equipment in conditions that simulate space. This testing helps to identify and address issues before they occur during space missions. Developing solutions to these issues contributes to solving similar issues on Earth, such as food security and remote health monitoring. Our work focuses on excelling space exploration and benefiting life on Earth.
2. Scientific research.
Analogue missions support scientific research, for example human physiology and psychology. Researchers can study how the human body reacts to extended periods in isolated and confined environments, and how astronauts cope with the physical and psychological demands of space travel. Findings from this research helps to understand how to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of astronauts and people on Earth, and how to increase the resilience of remote health systems.
3. Market research.
The UK space industry is expanding fast, growing to £17.5 billion in 2020/21 (an increase of £1 billion from the previous year including inflation adjustment). Space Health Research produces market research reports for our clients on emerging space products, services, and technologies. Our analysis aims to equip our clients with insights into market trends, and understanding of customer needs, the competitor landscape, and potential growth opportunities in their sector.
4. Education and training.
Analogue missions allow astronauts to train and develop skills within a simulated space environment. Analogue missions require leadership, teamwork, and collaboration among crew members, mission control, and support staff – the same needed for space missions. Analogue missions, therefore, strengthen leadership, communication, and problem-solving, which are all critical for successful space missions. Our education and training service are for corporate retreats and away days that are centred in developing these skills to improve performance in the workplace.
Analogue Astronauts conducting a geological survey of the planet
Analogue Mission Island
Photo credit: John Dickens
|Our missions are cost-effective and significantly less expensive than actual space missions, making them an attractive option for testing, research, and training. Our missions are conducted more frequently than actual space missions and so provide opportunities for more R&D, data collection, and training for our clients. Do get in touch with us to discuss how you could benefit from taking part in the next analogue mission simulating the exploration of space.
We’re ready to accelerate the new space age and hope you will join us to be part of it too.
P.S. If you would like to hear more about our background story, watch my presentation at the Royal Geographical Society Explore Conference 2022, which is titled, “Exploring Space,” and listed in the Saturday talks:
We simulate exploration of space to benefit the health of people and the planet.