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Generalizable Skills and Knowledge for Exploration Missions (NNX15AW34G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Space Human Factors Engineering
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Training for International Space Station (ISS) expeditions is comprehensive and is intended to prepare astronauts for all tasks they are likely to perform during their increments and many emergency tasks they hope will not occur. On-orbit task performance is monitored closely by ground personnel who provide real-time procedural assistance and verification to ensure correct performance. The relatively brief durations and proximity of ISS expeditions make this comprehensive and directly-supported approach to training possible. However, some trained skills are extremely perishable and increasing lag-times in communications on planetary expeditions will render real-time monitoring by support personnel difficult, and eventually impossible. For these reasons, future long-duration expeditions to asteroids and the planets will require different training strategies from those used to prepare crews for the ISS, in order to minimize the risks associated with performance errors resulting from training deficiencies.

The primary objective of this study was to identify the generalizable abilities that will be required of crew on expedition-class space missions. In this regard, investigators addressed the following specific aims.

  1. Determine the frequency, difficulty, importance, and derived criticality of exploration class tasks.
  2. Determine the abilities and skills necessary to perform these exploration class tasks.
  3. Determine the retention and generalizability of the skills, potential differences between novices and experts, and objective and subjective metrics based on an established knowledgebase of training for those abilities and skills.

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Stuster J, Adolf J, Byrne V, and Greene M. Human Exploration of Mars: Preliminary Lists of Crew Tasks. Houston, Texas. NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 2018. NASA Technical Report, 2018-220043. [NTRS]

Stuster J, Adolf J, Byrne V, and Greene M. Generalizable Skills and Knowledge for Exploration Missions. Houston, Texas. NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 2019. NASA Technical Report, 2018-220445.

Comparative study

Arm-hand steadiness
Auditory attention
Category flexibility
Cognitive performance
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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
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Helen Stewart
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Alternate Experiment Name
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2014-15 HERO NNJ14ZSA001N