Clinical Trials in future space missions (currently known as meta-futurism)

Note: We renamed the initiative in 2022 to meta-futurism as we now run the workshop beyond health concept and include other issues. The latest one was focused on climate change. I will write more about it soon.

Clinical trials in interplanetary mission (CTIM) project is a group project and my role was coming up with the original concept, bring in the research methods expertise, writing the science fiction story and designing the game. This study uses a methodological approach that shares traits with speculative and critical design, using imagined scenarios, props, imagery, diegetic prototypes and science fiction writing to raise questions regarding preferable futures. These design methods often take inspiration from science/speculative fiction as a way to trigger debate and discussion.

We built scenarios for workshops that was both future‐facing as well as retaining and drawing from present medical knowledge, the experience and questions contained tropes from both science fiction as well as tropes from the history of clinical trials. The first creative workshop creative workshop that included a simulation of a disaster during a space mission, the usage of optical design to distort vision and an interactive methodological discussion. The workshops afterwards used a science fiction story to develop an immersive scenario. The final version of the workshop used a combination of a science fiction story with role-playing to immerse participant in the conversation. A documentation of the workshop.

  • Nasser M, Peres N, Knight J, Haines A, Young C, Griffin J, et al. Designing clinical trials for future space missions. 69th International Astronautical Conference. Bremen, Germany. 2018.
  • Nasser M, Peres N, Knight J, Haines A, Young C, Maranan D, Wright J, Carvil P, Robinson K, Westmore M, Griffin J, Halkes M. Designing clinical trials for future space missions as a pathway to changing how clinical trials are conducted on Earth. J Evid Based Med. 2020 May;13(2):153-160. doi: 10.1111/jebm.12391. Epub 2020 May 25.

The project team and authors are Mona Nasser, Nicholas Peres, Jacqui KnightAgatha Haines, Charlie Young, Julian Wright, Matthew Halkes, Diego Maranan, and Joanna Griffin from the Transtechnology Research group, the SEADS international networkCogNovo, the University of the Philippines, the Torbay Hospital Virtual Reality team

The first run of the project was hosted by the Torbay Hospital and included a simulation of a space accident in microgravity along with an interactive methods discussion with consultants, clinicians, and scientists. The second workshop, which was run as part of the Edinburgh Cochrane Colloquium, was focused on exploring a narrative scenario, engaging patient advocates and researchers. The project not only generated some suggestions for innovative methodological approaches for conducting clinical trials but also prompted a discussion on re-thinking the relation between patients and clinicians in the context of interplanetary missions.

The results of the project was presented at the International Astronautical Conference (IAC) in Bremen Germany on 2 Oct 2018. In their abstract for “Conceptualising the design of clinical trials and its associated support systems in interplanetary missions”, the authors identify five key aspects for a conceptual framework to focus on patient commitment and motivation. The report of the medical simulation project was published in Journal of Evidence based Medicine.