More doctors than pilots become astronauts in Canada

More doctors would become astronauts than pilots in Canada, because the similarities between the practice of medicine and life in orbit are significant.

Among the 14 potential candidates chosen by Canada in recent years to become astronauts, there are four pilots and four doctors, according to the magazine “Canadian Family Phisician”.

Among those who did go into space, four out of nine astronauts were doctors, including Quebecer David Saint-Jacques, selected by the Canadian Space Agency in 2009.

According to Farhan Asrar, an expert in space medicine from the University of Toronto, it would be no coincidence that this profession stands out.

He claimed that there is a synergy between the mindset of a doctor and that of a member of a spaceflight crew, which could explain the greater presence of doctors in the selection of astronauts.

In the journal “Canadian Family Physician”, Saint-Jacques co-authored an article that reflects on the useful experience he gained as a doctor before his ascension into space.

“There is an important parallel to be drawn between the challenges and constraints of practicing rural medicine and medical care for astronauts in orbit: isolation, self-reliance, limited equipment, and impractical or impossible medical evacuation. Similar problems often have similar solutions, which is why medical technology developed for space crews is generally relevant for medicine on Earth and vice versa,” said the man who practiced medicine in Nord-du-Québec. .
Astronaut and doctor Dave Williams analyzes in the article co-signed with the Quebecer the similarities between the training of the two trades, namely the strategy which consists in detecting errors and repairing them quickly before undesirable consequences occur.