Dr Beth Healey

Dr Beth Healey

Beth is an emergency medicine doctor who has worked for several years in the NHS as well as a variety of international settings.

Fluent in French, this has included providing pre-hospital medical care in the Swiss Alps. As part of medical and logistical support teams, she has worked in a number of extreme and remote environments including Svalbard, Siberia, Greenland and the North Pole.

As research MD for the European Space Agency (ESA) she overwintered in Antarctica at spaceflight analogue ‘Concordia’, otherwise known as ’White Mars’. There, she researched the effects of isolation and extreme environment on the physiology and psychology of the crew. During the winter due to the low temperatures (-80C) and long polar night (105 days without any sunlight) they were completely isolated even in case of emergency. This research has been used to help inform space agencies of the challenges future astronauts on long duration spaceflight missions may face as well as develop medical models required for such missions. She also participated on an overland traverse, driving a Caterpillar tractor 1,200 km across the Antarctic plateau.

Since returning she has contributed to a Space and Global Health UN specialist interest group considering how we can use space derived technology to solve medical problems on earth, including life support systems, telemedicine and remote diagnostics. She also provides medical support in extreme and remote environments for TV documentaries, including for National Geographic and NBC.

Links & Credits

The space doctors

Interview in The British Medical Journal about space research in extreme locations

European Space Agency blog from Concordia base, Antarctica