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Health Beyond Initiative

Space agencies around the world are planning for the next steps in human space exploration that will lead us to the Moon and Mars. Keeping astronauts safe and healthy during these long missions will be critical: space exploration is an ambitious and risky undertaking, particularly for human health.

Astronauts in space and people living in remote communities face common healthcare challenges such as limited access to healthcare providers and medical resources, as well as long travel times to healthcare facilities. Long-duration travel into deep space will bring additional challenges, such as increasing communication delays, and no possibilities for an emergency evacuation and resource re-supply. Living in an isolated, confined and extreme environment for a long period of time can also affect astronauts' psychological health.

For space agencies, these challenges require a shift in the astronaut healthcare delivery model, from the current reliance on Earth-based medical ground control to enhanced medical autonomy for the crew.

Through our Health Beyond initiative, we are exploring potential Canadian contributions in medical technologies for deep-space exploration. We are working closely with experts in remote healthcare to identify and develop innovative, relevant and sustainable health solutions that will benefit astronauts and Canadians, especially medically isolated populations.

Objective

The objective of our Health Beyond initiative is to leverage the ambitious vision for human space exploration and the healthcare needs of astronauts to contribute to remote healthcare delivery in Canada.

Funding

Funded under the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), the Health Beyond initiative has a total budget of $14 million over 5 years to support medical technology development, stakeholder engagement and the development of a demonstration site. Annual budget will vary depending on the funding opportunities made available by LEAP.

Portfolio

LEAP will prepare Canada's space sector for involvement in lunar and deep-space exploration through a portfolio of activities.

Collaborative research and development

Through various initiatives and collaborations, we are addressing healthcare challenges, notably by the development and advancement of Canadian health technology capabilities such as:

Northern Demonstration initiative

Starting in , we will establish a medical technology project in Northern Canada, in close collaboration with local partners. The initiative will assess the utility of Canadian and international healthcare innovations to address the common healthcare challenges of terrestrial remote communities and crew in deep space.

This demonstration initiative aims to further facilitate the integration of these innovations in space and on Earth, while advancing equitable and culturally acceptable access to healthcare for Canadians in the North.

Contact

If you have any questions regarding Health Beyond, contact us at santespatiale-spacehealth@asc-csa.gc.ca.

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