Anika Mehlis

Analog Astronaut, Scientist

Austrian Space Forum - we conduct analog missions on Earth to prepare for future missions to Mars; we also do outreach and education Bielefeld University - I‘m a PhD student in Public Health with a background in microbiology and engineering

I train for and take part in analog missions in remote areas on Earth to prepare for future missions to Mars. I‘m also a scientist working on finding ways to improve our health care system for better health for everyone.

I love being an analog astronaut because I get to explore and to work in international and interdisciplinary teams with amazing people. By combining my passions I also get to play a small part in helping humankind along on their way to a healthy, sustainable future.

There is no „typical“ day for me as I do so many different things. Some days I spend doing physical exercises, online conference calls and caring for my three kids. Others I spend travelling and giving lectures or interviews. Then again I‘m sitting in front of my laptop reading, doing research and writing papers or my thesis.

After Highschool I spent a year abroad and studied Biology afterwards. I started working in a lab doing environmental testing after my masters degree in microbiology. When I was at home with my second child I started studying for my second masters degree in environmental engineering. This was followed by eight years as a team leader for infectious diseases control at a public health department. I became an analog astronaut during that time and also started my PhD studies. For the last year I have been self-employed doing a lot of different projects.

I‘d love to try and become an astronaut. Besides this dream I hope to finish my PhD soon. I‘m going to take part in an analog mission in Israel in autumn of 2021. In the long term I hope to be able to work both in Science and „in the field“ and further share my passion for all things space, sustainability, public health and STEM in general.

I‘m a runner and love being outside. But I also love to cuddle up with a good read. I have lots of friends that I like to spend time with. The same goes for my family. Since I love my work very much, the time I spend working also feels like living and gives me great joy!

Working as an analog astronaut in a team of professionals hailing from hugely diverse backgrounds gives me great hope that humankind can succeed in building a „better tomorrow“ for everyone.