French radiology is banking on the space adventure

During these long trips into space, in particular the planned mission to Mars, medical problems will have to be managed autonomously with compact and versatile equipment, noted Prof. Vincent Vidal, professor of interventional radiology at Assistance Publique. РHospitals of Marseille (AP-HM), which evoked the event during a special session held on October 11 at the French national congress, Journ̩es Francophones de Radiologie (JFR) 2021.

The Toolbox Challenge is the latest project in the one-year partnership with CNES, which was announced at JFR 2020.

The impossibility of major surgery and the direct interaction with experts on earth will limit the management of a good number of pathologies in astronaut patients. IR addresses many of these issues, especially given its ability to access deep organs under ultrasound guidance, via procedures such as draining a life-threatening digestive tract abscess.

A jury will award a prize, a grant and a visit to CNES Toulouse to the team with the best and most complete solution to the JFR 2022, the idea being that this toolbox will cover all possible medical scenarios and will use the lightest solution and most versatile equipment, according to Vidal. Conversely, these interventional procedures developed for space can in turn be applied on earth.


  • Conceptualize the IR toolbox for distant space travel meeting the following requirements: Ensure the technical realization of specific interventions while minimizing as much as possible the requirements in terms of volume and weight of medical devices and instruments.
  • Describe new interventional radiology interventions to respond to pathologies that on earth are treated surgically.
  • Rules

  • The application is open to any team made up of two to five radiologists, residents or seniors.

The SFR specifies that the doctors who embark on this mission must be extremely versatile and have skills in interventional radiology.

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