ESA-FAIR cooperation: Dr. Dr. Jennifer Ngo-Anh succeeds Thomas Reiter


In the joint cooperation between the European Space Agency ESA and the international accelerator center FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research GmbH), which is currently being built at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, there is a new ESA coordinator responsible for implementing the ESA-FAIR cooperation. Jennifer Ngo-Anh, who holds doctorates in medicine and neuroscience, succeeds astronaut Thomas Reiter, who recently retired. On FAIR side, Dr. Corinna Kausch from Biophysics Department is responsible for implementing the cooperation.

Dr. Dr. Jennifer Ngo-Anh works as Research and Payloads Coordinator in the Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration programs. There she coordinate the research and payloads program, which has the overarching goal to enable safe and sustainable long-duration exploration missions into Deep Space with human crews. In her field of responsibility, she will also be in charge of the ESA-FAIR cooperation on cosmic radiation research, in which she has already been significantly involved before, among other things as part of the project team in the implementation of the joint ESA-FAIR Summer School.

The Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR Professor Paolo Giubellino said: “GSI and FAIR sincerely thank Thomas Reiter for the excellent collaboration. He was one of the decisive initiators of the ESA-FAIR cooperation, which we were able to successfully launch with the signing of the contract in February 2018 and which has already generated numerous important research contributions. We are very much looking forward to working with Dr. Dr. Ngo-Anh in the future and the opportunity to further advance our collaboration together with her. The cooperation between FAIR and ESA opens up unique opportunities for excellent research in the field of cosmic radiation and its effects.”

One of the key questions that need to be addressed regarding the future of human spaceflight as well as robotic exploration programs is how cosmic radiation affects human beings, electronics, and materials. Another important component is the assessment of radiation risks. More precise research on cosmic radiation, undertaken by the ESA-FAIR cooperation, is thus one of the central tasks for the effective protection of astronauts and space systems.

The new ESA person responsible, Dr. Dr. Ngo-Anh, is also looking forward to a strengthened collaboration with GSI/FAIR and emphasizes the importance of it: “Space radiation is considered as being one of the potential showstoppers for long-duration human exploration missions into Deep Space. This is why we have the cooperation with GSI / FAIR in place through which we are trying to advance our space radiation understanding. The cooperation is unique, because in the area of space radiation research, very limited opportunities for exposing materials to (space) irradiation is available. One of the main objectives of the cooperation is to implement space-relevant experiments and directly apply the obtained knowledge at the state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure of GSI and FAIR in Darmstadt – and thereby contribute to sustained and safe exploration of Deep Space with human crews”.

Dr. Dr. Jennifer Ngo-Anh studied medicine in Tübingen and received her doctorate there, followed by neuroscience studies with a PhD at the University of Portland in the US state of Oregon. Subsequently, she began her career at ESA in the Directorate for Astronautical Spaceflight. Today, as Program Coordinator Research and Payloads, she leads the mainly medical/life science aspects of the European space program with a team of 20 people. Her scope of activities includes the scientific planning, coordination and implementation of the European contribution to the International Space Station (ISS) as well as all European ground-based human and robotic space activities. (BP)