Stephen Cook, Canadian Press
Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 15:40 EST
OTTAWA – The Canadian Space Agency says it wants to hire a former astronaut, Dave Williams, to figure out how to get people to Mars and vice versa.
But if you are a doctor who was in space and think you can do a better job, please let the agency know.
Williams is a doctor with experience both on the shuttle and the International Space Station. The space agency published plans Wednesday to help them contact medical experts and develop healthcare solutions for future astronauts.
"CSA hopes to be able to use the expertise we have in space science to create next-generation space exploration capabilities," Williams told the Canadian press.
Longer space travel, like the years that will be needed to travel to Mars and maybe back, means that astronauts will have to take care of their own health problems, and this is an area where Canada thinks it can contribute for global travel to another. planet.
In order to send people to the red planet within two decades, the space agency says it needs the experience and direct experience of a man like Williams.
It issued a "pre-contract award notice", which is essentially open to anyone who thinks it can better meet the needs of the agency.
Of the 10 retired astronauts of Canada, Williams is one of only three practicing medicine. He holds the Canadian record for time spent in space walks: almost 18 hours over three take-offs. In addition, he spent 28 days in space over two missions, and previously headed NASA's Space and Life Sciences Directorate.
Williams will work with colleague astronaut and Dr. Robert Tirsk, who for nearly 205 days holds the Canadian record of time spent in space. The space agency hired Thirsk through a similar process earlier this year.
(The third astronaut-doctor is Roberta Bondar, who flew a space shuttle mission in 1992)
The work involves working with Canadian scientists and health experts, as well as publicizing the benefits of investing in space science, such as developing health care administration techniques without physically attending physicians, something that Williams says can be used in distant northern Canadian communities.
He said that cosmic healthcare is "a huge opportunity" for Canada.
"We could not build the International Space Station without Canadian and Canadian participation," he said.
"The future is, of course, out of Earth's orbit, and it is exciting to identify the main roles that Canada can play in these missions back to the Moon and ultimately reach Mars."
Thirsk and Williams were members of an expert group for 2017 on the potential roles of Canadian healthcare in deep space flights.