Real-Time Estimation of the Effects of a Simulated Long-Duration Exploration Mission on Flight Performance, Workload, and Situation Awareness (NNX16AO29G)
Human space flight missions often requires long-term isolation of crewmembers in extreme environments. The space flight environment introduces stressors to both crewmember physiology and behavioral psychology. Specific human-factors stressors include long-duration isolation, sleep loss, circadian desynchronization, and high workload. These present a real, tangible risk of performance decrements, which could have significant negative impacts on the mission objectives. Research conducted in space flight analogs such as NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) provide a unique opportunity to study these effects, in a larger sample size than International Space Station (ISS) crews, and develop essential metrics to identify and prevent performance decrements in an operationally-relevant setting.
In the field of human space flight, real-time performance metrics and the quantification of performance during operationally-relevant tasks and scenarios have the potential to make existing operations safer and more efficient, and improve the design of future vehicles. The identification of critical performance decrements, either in measures of task performance, workload, or situational awareness, may be used to alter the human-automation task allocation or suggest changes to crew resource management.
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An existing configurable and portable simulation platform will be integrated into HERA for use during the HERA 45 day missions. The platform will simulate two operationally-relevant scenarios—a piloted lunar landing task, and a Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) inspection of an ISS solar array. The simulation platform will be used to characterize real-time performance metrics including flight performance, workload, and situation awareness for each individual trial, and then be analyzed as a function of mission duration in the HERA. These performance metrics will be correlated with the simulated mission events, known environmental stressors, and data derived from the Actiwatch and the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT).
The investigator's team expects to collect data from each of the four HERA crewmembers during each Campaign 4 Mission. Data will be collected on each of the 45 mission days, alternating between the Piloted Lunar Landing and the SAFER EVA ISS Solar Array Inspection simulations. They expect to see modulations in task performance, workload, and situation awareness within each of the simulations that correlate with high stress events and/or periods of excessive fatigue. Second order effects that are expected are general effects due to predicted mood effects that cycle with overall mission duration. These hypotheses will be tested for following each Mission, and will be aggregated across all four Campaign 4 Missions.
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Flight technical error (FTE)
Immobile time, percent
Inceptor frequency analysis
Mean activity score
Mean length of immobility
Mean length of sleep bouts
Mean square error (MSE) tracking
Mean wake bout time
Modified sleep efficiency
Number of wake bouts
Root mean square (RMS)
Sleep time total
Total activity score
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: https://humanresearchroadmap.nasa.gov/
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for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.