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Research Papers > Crew Performance in Extreme Environments

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    Activity-Based Habitable Volume Estimating for Human Spaceflight Vehicles

    (Click on title to download pdf) Accurate estimation of required working volumes is a vital aspect of the design process for any vehicle involving humans. This is all the more important when such a vehicle must serve as the crew’s sole habitable volume during a mission of any duration in the harsh environment of space.12 The key to accurate estimation of required crew volumes is to properly analyze the volume necessary to perform the entire range of tasks that will be required of the crewmembers. This paper discusses activity-based estimation techniques and methodologies that lead to the determination of realistic, justifiable, and cost-effective habitable volumes for new spacecraft, which are physically safe and promote sustained behavioral health.
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    Comparing Crew Operations in Extreme Environments

    (Click on title to download pdf) Working in extreme environments presents serious challenges to crewmembers. This paper compares and contrasts various aspects of the working environments of outer space and cold climate (i.e., Arctic) shipping, looking at similarities and differences between the two, as well as lessons that might be transferable from one to the other. These transferable lessons might be found in the arenas of tools, equipment, protective gear, crew health, safety, habitability, ergonomics, operations, or some combination of the above. The two industries both stand to benefit from a deliberate comparison of challenges, technologies and lessons learned.
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    Eight Days in Inner Space: My Experience at the Moon Desert Research Station

    (Click on title to download pdf) The author spent the week from February 28 through March 7, 2006, at the Mars Desert Research Station (a.k.a. Moon Desert Research Station, or MDRS, for the duration of the Moonbase simulation) near Hanksville, Utah, as a crewmember for the first Moonbase mission simulation (hereafter referred to as Artemis Moonbase Sim 1 or Moonbase Sim 1) conducted at that site. This paper reports selected crew activities and experiences during Moonbase Sim 1, summarizes data from the author’s research projects on water reclamation, spacesuit biomechanics, and crew time allocation, and makes recommendations for future efforts in both simulation and actual mission preparation.
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    Human Performance Considerations for a Mars Mission

    (Click on title to download pdf) As humans contemplate further exploration of our universe, many questions arise regarding the implications of these new endeavors, many of which have yet to be fully addressed. Scientists have long wondered whether the human body is suited for spaceflight. The original issue was whether humans could merely survive even a short flight into space, let alone remain healthy during a long trip. Spaceflight produces a plethora of physiological and psychological effects in humans, which range in time of onset, duration, and recovery from minutes to months. Some of the most serious effects are cardiovascular deconditioning, bone demineralization, and radiation damage. A crucial concern to be addressed in preparing for extended human spaceflight missions is how to keep the crew healthy and safe during all phases of the mission, as well as upon their reintroduction to earth’s environment.
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    Isolation and Confinement Issues in Long Duration Spaceflight

    (Click on title to download pdf) As humankind prepares for further exploration of our solar system it is crucial to consider the wide range of potential psychological and physiological effects brought about by long duration spaceflight.12 This paper reviews efforts to address these effects in three areas: human factors design, physiological health, and psychosocial issues. Human factors design considerations include increasing user-friendliness and earth-like familiarity of space vehicles. Physiological concerns involve physical conditioning and reducing individual stress levels. Psychosocial efforts have traditionally focused on crew selection in addition to coping with the stresses of isolation and confinement.
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    Load-Carrying in Reduced Gravities: Operational Considerations

    (Click on title to download pdf) Extravehicular planetary explorers must wear protective suits and portable life support systems to provide them with a pressurized, breathable atmosphere. The mass of these systems has traditionally been quite large, and mass projections for some future regenerable systems are even higher. Yet very little is known about human load-carrying capabilities in reduced gravity levels. This work is a first attempt to investigate the biomechanics and energetics of human load-carrying in simulated reduced gravities to obtain load magnitude and placement data for spacesuit design and exploration mission planning purposes.
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    Locomotion While Load-Carrying in Reduced Gravities

    (Click on title to download pdf) The issues associated with determining a safe and reasonable load size and load location for astronauts performing activities on extra-terrestrial planetary surfaces have until now not been addressed. Extravehicular astronauts must wear protective suits and portable life support systems to provide them with a pressurized, breathable atmosphere. Supporting the mass of the suit and life support system represents a supplemental energy expenditure to the crewperson, in addition to his/her surface exploration duties. To design the extravehicular protective equipment for future planetary space missions, it is necessary to better understand human physical capabilities while load-carrying in reduced gravities.