Space Health Symposium 2020

“How to thrive, not just survive”

That human space exploration is both expensive and dangerous is a given, but it also represents a unique set of circumstances where human beings are totally dependent on what is provided for them in order to be able to survive. However, as the good health (both physical and psychological) of expeditioners is essential for the success of the mission, spacefarers “need to thrive, not just survive”. As such, a strong human rights and governance infrastructure is necessary to support this.

To celebrate World Space Week 2020 the ad astra vita project and Mars Society Australia joined forces to present an inaugural Australian virtual Space Health Symposium (including Human Rights in the Space Environment), held on Monday 5 October and Tuesday 6 October 2020 via Zoom (free registration).

In conjunction with the Jus Ad Astra project, we were excited to feature Human Rights in the Space Environment during two sessions – the last session on Day 1 (which included an interactive workshop) and the first session on Day 2 (which included a panel Q&A).

As the theme of World Space Week this year is #satellites improve life, we also offered some sessions on Space4Health.

Members of the Australasian space life sciences and space law communities and university students were especially invited to participate, but wherever you are in the world, you are welcome to access the resources from the Symposium. The program ran 12 hours a day in order to cover all major time zones.

The Space Health Symposium Program Page can be accessed via the button below. On that page you will find links to both the Space Health Symposium Outline Program and the souvenir Symposium Program Booklet containing a full list of speakers and their biographies and abstracts.

There is also a program archive with links to available presenter PDFs. The session videos are currently undergoing editing, but will be uploaded to YouTube when ready and the links will also be listed in the program archive.

The program highlights for each day are listed below:

Day 1 (Monday 5 October)

  • Australian Space Agency overview
  • Being a NASA flight surgeon
  • Space4Health
  • Space surgery
  • “How to live on the Moon and Mars”
  • Draft Constitution for Off-Earth Settlement workshop
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Space medicine and physiology
  • Space law for settlements and human rights workshop

Day 2 (Tuesday 6 October)

  • Human rights in space
  • Space radiation research
  • Cross-discipline STEAM education
  • Being human: health and culture
  • Human factors
  • Space and pandemics
  • Space and disaster management
  • Space4Health
  • Facing the future
  • Summary and conclusion

The exact session times were set out in the program, but as a guide:

  • Morning session e.g., 08:45 – 12:45 AEDT (UTC+11)
  • Afternoon session e.g., 13:30 – 16:45 AEDT
  • Twilight session e.g., 17:00 – 18:30 AEDT
  • Evening session e.g., 19:00-21:00 AEDT.
Time Conversion Table

The images and infographics from the Symposium, including a summary infographic and word cloud of the impressions from participants can be found on the following page:

If you have any questions please send an email to

Thank you for your interest in the Symposium, and stand by for future events!

Perhaps if we “dream big” this may be a way of bringing us all together once a year to talk about the things we are passionate about…

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