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Dynamic Team Role Allocation in Long Duration, Exploration Missions: Identification of Roles, Triggers, and Measurement Tools (NNX14AM73G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Long-duration, exploration missions present a unique environment characterized by many stressors (e.g., social isolation, danger, confinement, interpersonal dynamics, periods of over/under stimulation), with little ability to escape. Research has found that within such environments interpersonal dynamics occupy a key role in effective functioning. While the last few years has witnessed an increase in research examining the composition requirements of high performance teams, little work has examined these issues in light of teams embedded in long-duration, exploration missions. The investigators sought to determine the following with regard to long-duration, exploration missions:

  1. Key social and team technical (task) roles which influence team function.
  2. Behavioral and communicative markers which can be used to assess the degree to which key identified social and team technical roles are being fulfilled.
  3. Contextual aspects that trigger a need for the dynamic shift of social roles.
  4. Optimal combinations (i.e., profiles, algorithms) of social roles for the maintenance and regulation of team functions.
  5. Markers that can be used to select for those most likely to fit social profiles and how these profiles change across the duration of the mission (i.e., the team’s life cycle)

In determining these factors, the investigators sought to provide a series of scientifically-grounded and experimentally validated taxonomies, guidelines, and measurement tools for team selection/composition. In exploring these questions, the investigators took a multi-pronged approach consisting of analysis of retrospective data (e.g., astronaut diaries, historical accounts of teams operating in isolated and confined environments, astronaut interviews), scientific literatures on group dynamics, personality, team roles, stress, and diversity, interviews, and experimentation in NASA analogs.

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Salas E, Tannenbaum SI, Kozlowski SWJ, Miller CA, Mathieu JE, and Vessey WB. Teams in space exploration: A new frontier for the science of team effectiveness. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2015. June; 24(3):200-7. [DOI]

Group processes
Task performance and analysis

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Data Information
Data Availability
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Collective orientation
Communicative markers
Problem solving
Social roles
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress
HERA Campaign 2 01/30/2015 08/27/2015 Four 14-day missions
HERA Campaign 3 01/26/2016 10/19/2016 Four 30-day missions
HERA Campaign 4 05/06/2017 06/18/2018 Four 45 days One 23 days

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

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Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Alternate Experiment Name
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI)