UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering


First of its kind UK Analogue Space Research Mission

16 June 2022

The 1st UK analogue space research mission took place from 20th - 23rd May – including analogue astronaut and PhD candidate Malica Schmidt.

Analogue Astronauts. Credit: John Dickens

All participants including mission crew and analogue astronauts. Credit: John Dickens

The pioneering analogue space research mission, developed by the UCL Space Health Risks Research Group and led by Myles Harris, was the 1st of its kind and simulated aspects of human spaceflight. Five analogue astronauts, including UCL’s Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE) PhD candidate Malica Schmidt were selected, according to their outdoor experience in extreme environments, as well as their healthcare backgrounds, ranging from qualified first aiders to healthcare practitioners. Prior to the mission, the crew trained in prolonged field care in Snowdonia National Park in Wales.

The mission took place from 20th - 23rd May on an isolated and uninhabited island in Scotland. It was the first time that the analogue astronauts explored the island, much like how future human space missions to the Moon and Mars would occur. The aim was to determine how prolonged and interdisciplinary healthcare is delivered in a remote and extreme environment using minimal resources to mitigate health risks. Therefore, it included three realistic healthcare scenarios over 36 hours, during which the five analogue astronauts needed to care for simulated patients over a prolonged period. The realistic healthcare scenarios were based on findings from UCL Space Health Risks Research Group 2021 symposium.

The finding of this research significantly contributes to reducing risks and promoting safety and sustainability during future space missions. Additionally, the project provides relevant insights into healthcare in remote environments on Earth, where resources are limited, and healthcare is delayed or inaccessible. An article about the mission can be found here.