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Neurostructural, Cognitive, and Physiologic Changes During a 1-year Antarctic Winter-Over Mission (NNX14AM81G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

The proposed study concentrates on neurostructural, cognitive, physiologic, and social effects of prolonged confinement and isolation on subjects over-wintering in the space analog environment of the Antarctic Concordia station. Investigators also propose to investigate an age-, gender-, and education-matched and non-confined control group living in Cologne, Germany with identical methodology.

The research encompasses the following specific aims:

  1. Perform structural and functional neuroimaging prior to, immediately after, and 6 months after the winter-over. This includes the administration of cognitive tests inside and outside of the scanner.
  2. Assess cognitive performance on a wide range of cognitive domains with the Cognition test battery during the period of confinement and isolation on a monthly basis.
  3. Investigate changes in sleep duration, sleep-wake rhythms and light exposure with continuously worn wrist actigraphy during the period of confinement and isolation.
  4. Investigate physiologic changes in heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep structure with monthly 24-h ECG measurements during the period of confinement and isolation.
  5. Investigate changes in psychomotor vigilance performance, mood, depressive symptoms, and subjective assessments of workload, stress, sleep quality, tiredness, sickness, and conflicts among crewmembers during the period of confinement and isolation on a weekly basis.
  6. Unobtrusively and continuously monitor crew cohesion and team structure with proximity sensors built into the wrist-worn actigraphs during the period of confinement and isolation.

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Basner M, McGuire S, Goel N, Rao H, and Dinges DF. A new likelihood ratio metric for the psychomotor vigilance test and its sensitivity to sleep loss. Journal of Sleep Research. 2015; June 29. []

Heart rate

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in Progress. Some restricted access data exist for this experiment.
Data Sets+ Request data

Alcohol consumption (self-reported)
Caffeine consumption (self-reported)
Cognitive performance
Conflict (self-reported)
Fatigue (self-reported)
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

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:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Eric Gallagher
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI)