Job title: Analog astronaut candidate.

Employer: Austrian Space Forum.

Age: 25.

Where are you from? Whitehaven.

Where do you live now? Oxford, where I am a medical student.

Where do you work? My space forum role is based at Innsbruck, Austria.

How long have you done this job? Four months.

Take us through a typical day: At present, I am undergoing basic training to qualify as an analog astronaut at the Austrian Space Forum. This means I am training to perform multi-disciplinary scientific research in a spacesuit simulator which is designed to mimic what it would be like to work on Mars.

The basic training consists of five training blocks, one per month, of four days each in Innsbruck, Austria. The training on each of these days greatly varies but generally each day begins at 7am with a run for an hour. Immediately afterwards we always have spacesuit glove training (imagine trying to tie your shoelaces wearing three sets of thick gloves!).

The rest of the day consists of a mix of theoretical and practical training in a vast range of subjects from geology and planetology, to first aid, health and nutrition, the all-important spacesuit simulator operation and much more.

Training typically finishes around 7pm or 8pm, meaning that each training block consists of up to 40 hours of training. Between training blocks, we have additional training that we must complete before the next block.

What do you like most about the job? There are two things in particular that I love about my job. Firstly, the varieties of tasks I perform mean that no two days are the same. The variety also means that I am often pushed outside my own area of expertise so the experience is a constant challenge for me to rise to.

Secondly, I get to work with the most amazing group of people. Everyone is very passionate and professional about the work we do which reflects onto your own enthusiasm for work. This also means that every time I am pushed to learn beyond my area of expertise, I get to learn from a world expert in their field.

What do you like least? Sometimes the travel can be difficult. It often means arriving home late on a Monday morning at 2am, and having to be back in my day job at 8am. However, the tiredness on that Monday is always worth it.

Why did you want to do this job? I wanted to do this job for a number of reasons. The complex and strenuous manual tasks of operating a spacesuit simulator, combined with rigor of academic research, seemed the perfect challenge for me.

Secondly, I hope that in my lifetime we will see the first humans landing on Mars and permanent human inhabitation of the moon.

I wanted to be part of it. By becoming an analog astronaut I can contribute to testing technologies and procedures that will help enable astronauts to achieve these goals.

What jobs have you done previously? I have had a number of previous roles within the space industry. Following my master’s degree at King’s College London, I became a co-founding member of the Human Spaceflight Capitalisation Office (HuSCO) in Harwell, UK.

Around the same time I was also the UK national point of contact for the Student European Low Gravity Research Association, and self-employed as a space life science consultant undertaking contracts for companies such as SeaSpace Research Ltd.

What qualifications or experience do you need? In order to become an analog astronaut there are a number of criteria that you must fulfil. Firstly, you must have experience in a technological, engineering or scientific field (such as aerospace/mechanical/electrical engineering, computer science, life sciences, geosciences), or experience as a commercial or military pilot.

Secondly, you must be in excellent mental and physical health in order to suitable for the demands of the role. Finally, and most importantly, you should be passionate about human spaceflight and Mars exploration and enjoy sharing this passion with others.

What is a typical salary for this job? Nothing, it is a voluntary role.

Any advice for people wanting to get into your profession? Find an aspect of the space industry that interests you and pursue it wholeheartedly. It could be medicine (like me!), engineering, physics, geology, biology, law, astronomy, or many other subjects.

Attend events and conferences on those subjects and talk to as many interesting people as you can. Ultimately, they will help guide you and inform you about opportunities which exist (Twitter is also great for this!).

Finally, keep fit and healthy.