Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)



02 June 2021, 7:00 pm–8:30 pm

Commander Truly and Mission Specialist (MS) Bluford sleep on middeck, img credit nasa.gov

During this COSS Catalyst, presenters will explore the broader concepts of holistic health in space, and how understanding this phenomena can benefit life on Earth.

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Centre for Outer Space Studies

Space medicine focuses on health in space from a biomedical (physiological) perspective. However, during deep space missions and exploration of other planetary bodies, astronauts will have holistic care needs, including psycho-social health. During this COSS Catalyst, presenters will explore the broader concepts of holistic health in space, and how understanding this phenomena can benefit life on Earth.

With Myles Harris, Aaron Parkhurst, Peter Hodkinson and Tamara Alvarez.

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This event is organised by the Centre for Outer Space Studies, part of the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies.

Image credit: 'Commander Truly and Mission Specialist (MS) Bluford sleep on middeck', https://images.nasa.gov/details-s08-04-104


About the Speakers

Myles Harris

Myles's research concerns ‘prolonged field care’ (also known as prehospital health) in remote environments and space. Harris' research is in collaboration with the not-for-profit organisation Remote Area Risk International and the UK Ministry of Defence, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. Harris' research interests are how holistic healthcare (including physical and psycho-social care) can be provided by an interdisciplinary practitioner to reduce the risk of disaster in remote locations on Earth and in outer space.

More about Myles Harris

Aaron Parkhurst

Aaron Parkhurst is a senior lecturer in Medical and Biosocial Anthropology at UCL, and he has extensive international research on the anthropology of the body, management of chronic illness, and bioethics.  He is a researcher with the ERC funded ETHNO-ISS project, conducting an ethnography of the human body onboard the international space station, and the complex networks of life science research conducted on the ISS. In this capacity, he is working with the new UCL Space Domain, The European Space Agency, and several architectural firms working on creating habitats and sustainable living for the human body off world. Dr Parkhurst has worked, researched and published in health, wellbeing, healthcare structures and culture in the United Arab Emirates, the UK, the United States.  As a medical anthropologist, he works as a consultant on chronic illness and behaviour change for the NHS, and for governmental think-tanks in Westminster focusing on health, technology and new bioethics, and he is editor of the Journal of Anthropology and Medicine. He also researches the intersection of technology and human body, cybernetics and medical technologies in London and the USA.  He convenes and teaches modules in Medical Anthropology, the Anthropology of the body, Anthropology and Psychiatry, and Health Technologies in the department of Anthropology and the UCL Medical School.

Dr Peter Hodkinson

Head of Aerospace Medicine (clinical and education) at King’s College London

His main areas of interest are health, performance and protection systems for extreme and aerospace environments; working at the boundary between medicine, engineering and operational practice. He has diverse clinical experience across hospital, military and expedition settings. His research experience includes basic science and exercise labs, normobaric and hypobaric hypoxia, thermal chambers, centrifuges, parabolic flight, mountains and fast jets. He is a member of the European Space Agency medical board and multiple aviation and space medicine organisations and committees. He is leading a UK Space Life And Biomedical Sciences Association project to develop space physiology and medicine themed education and outreach activities and materials.

More about Dr Peter Hodkinson

Tamara Alvarez

Tamara Alvarez has done extensive research on human spaceflight with a focus on lunar exploration and settlement scenarios in Europe and the US. Dr. Alvarez has been a Space Generation Advisory Council delegate to the United Nations Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and member of The Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group socio-economic panel. She has taught at Parsons, Lang College, and The City University of New York, and given talks at Strelka Institute in Moscow, the European Space Agency Research and Technology Center, and the Berkeley Primer Futures Design Conference, among others. Dr. Alvarez holds a PhD in Anthropology from The New School for Social Research and is co-editor of the forthcoming Society and Space forum "A Cosmic Glossary," a special issue showcasing the work of more than twenty scholars in the emerging field of Social Studies of Outer Space (SSOS). She is completing a book manuscript, Moonrise, that examines the second lunar race and the Moon's role in more-than-human terrestrial ecologies. 

More about Tamara Alvarez