NASA has awarded $1.2 million to the Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program to continue its work studying the human factors that contribute to astronaut crew function and performance during long-duration space travels, such as those anticipated for a manned mission to Mars.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa leads this study, with support from team members at Cornell University, Michigan State University, Arizona State University, University of South Florida, the University of Maryland, the Institutes for Behavior Resources, Smart Information Flow Technologies, Blue Planet Research, and from the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES).
Three space analog missions are anticipated: four months, eight months and one year in duration, respectively.
Each of the next three missions is focused on the social, interpersonal, and cognitive factors that affect team performance over time.
The four-month mission begins on March 28, 2014. Six “astronaut-like” crew members have been selected to participate inside the HI-SEAS space analog habitat.
Over the course of the study, researchers from the outside will evaluate the crew’s communications strategies, crew workload and job-sharing, and conflict resolution/conflict management approaches to determine the most important factors for success of a long duration space mission.
The primary goals of the study are:
- To measure key factors that may contribute to crew function and performance over three high-autonomy missions of varying length.
- To assess the impact of these factors on crew function and performance.
- To assess the relative impact of these factors for different duration missions.
- To suggest potential countermeasures (e.g. crew selection strategies) and interventions (e.g. responses to deteriorating crew cohesion) to maximize crew function and performance.
To achieve these goals, researchers will measure a number of behavioral, communicative, and ability-based factors before the start of a mission, as well as tracking how these abilities and several interpersonal, communicative, and role-based factors change over the course of a mission, to determine the effects of these factors and their ability to predict crew performance over missions of varying lengths.