Floris Van Den Berg
Hot chocolat anyone? Windchill is -74celsius today...
Radboud Medical University Nijmegen – the Netherlands
Medical Doctor. Specialization in Family Medicine. Advanced Wilderness Life Support instructor.
I worked in Antarctica, Belize, Cambodia, Greenland, Guatemala, Nepal, the Netherlands, Svalbard & Tanzania
Research Doctor in Concordia Station, Antarctica
European Space Agency
Research Doctor in Antarctica for the European Space Agency
Hi! I’m Floris, a medical doctor from the Netherlands. I’m 32 years old and I love to travel, dive and dance. As expedition doctor I worked in a lot of different places all over the world.
ESA wanted me to do research in Antarctica because the living conditions here are the closest to a space trip you can get on earth. I do 6 experiments that are all related to long duration space missions (to the Moon & beyond!)
I had a lot of training as preparation for my year in the cold. This picture was taken in the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. Of course I hope to fly in space for real later!!
It takes a while before I can go out, I have to wear a special polar suit, boots, 2 hats, 2-3 pairs of gloves and a ski mask to protect myself against the cold.
On my free days I help our mechanic to collect snow to make drinking water.
My Typical Day
I take some blood samples from my crew or myself in the morning. Breakfast. Email. Some tests or scans. Lunch. Work. Workout. Dinner.
Every month I take CT-scans to see how our bones and muscles are developping. I take blood samples and analyze them in a very fancy machine called a Flowcytometer, it uses 2 laser beams to look at all the different blood cells.
I often check my crew how their hearts and bodies are responding to the low level of oxygen here.
What I'd do with the prize money
I’d like to visit the winning schools to tell about living in the coldest place on earth and working as an expedition doctor.
In Nepal I visited schools & orphanages to check children who didn’t have access to healthcare. And when I heard some of them wanted to become a doctor too, I showed them the basics ;-).
ESA is supporting ‘I’m an Astronaut!’ to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. We believe that there are great opportunities for people with a STEM passion, in Space and on the ground!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Dutch. Wanderlust. Doc.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology. Lunch breaks.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Archeologist. Lawyer. Doctor.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Travel all continents.
Concordia Station is my home for this year ( I arrived in November 2015, and will go back home in December 2016).
Concordia Station is located 1200 kilometers inland from the coast of Antarctica. Only during the 3 month summer period (half Nov – half Feb) we’re accessible, for 9 months per year we’re isolated and have to rely on ourselves.
The base is built on a snow mountain, we have over 3200 meters of ice below us!!
We are really in the middle of nowhere, our neighbours are the Russion station Vostoc, they are 650km away, and in between only snow, snow & snow.
On my personal blog WanderlustDoc.com you can read more about my life on Antarctica.