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Hybrid Training - A Sensory Stimulation Countermeasure for Long Duration Space Exploration Missions (NNX16AI53G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

This study concentrates on assessing the efficacy of physical exercise while using a cycle ergometer combined with an interactive virtual environment, i.e. Hybrid Training, as a countermeasure for augmenting sensory stimulation during long-duration space missions. This countermeasure will combine validated tools and virtual reality (VR) technologies in a new way to reveal the full potential of Hybrid Training, and take into account (a) key needs that fulfill sensory stimulation, (b) “hedonic adaptation”, i.e. a reduced affective response to stimuli with continued or repeated exposure, (c) delivery schedule, and (d) size, mass and volume requirements, and (e) reasonable cost. The system basically consists of a cycle ergometer, a human computer interaction (HCI) interface, and a visual display. The ergometer will be linked via Bluetooth to the HCI and the visual display consisting of a touchpad or alternatively a head-mounted VR system plus a personal computer (PC). In addition, the ergometer is equipped with contact electrodes for logging heart rate as an additional indicator of exercise intensity (as well as haptic feedback). Due to its web-based interface, the system also promotes real-time monitoring of comprehensive metrics for each training session, and provides an easy reporting tool for individuals (feedback to crewmembers including training history). The research has the specific aims of investigating the effect of Hybrid Training on:
  1. Brain structure and function,
  2. Cognitive performance,
  3. Biochemical markers of stress and neuroplasticity,
  4. Mood, depression, and subjective assessments of workload, stress, sleep quality, tiredness, sickness, and conflicts,
  5. Sleep duration and sleep-wake rhythms using continuously wrist-worn actigraphy,
  6. Heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep structure using monthly 24-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements, and
  7. Crew cohesion and team structure (pending crew consent).

The main aim of the study is to assess the effect of Hybrid Training on changes in brain structure and function as well as cognitive performance in subjects during two 1-year Antarctic winter-over missions at Neumayer station and compare these data to data collected in previous Neumayer crews, other Antarctic stations, space analog environments, and the International Space Station (ISS)

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
Chronotype (morningness-eveningness)
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
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2014-15 HERO NNJ14ZSA001N