Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

In undersea habitat, aquanauts learn about teamwork and task performance for the moon and Mars

10.05.2006
In isolated environments, astronauts, flight crews, offshore workers and military forces must maintain vigilance and work together to ensure a safe and successful mission.

Between daily living, telemedicine activities and moon-walking simulations, participants in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 9 project helped National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) researchers study performance ability, problem-solving and team cohesion issues that could affect long-duration space flights.

“The NEEMO undersea mission is a similar experience in key ways to what future space travelers might encounter,” said Dr. David Dinges, team leader of NSBRI’s Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team and principal investigator on the project. “Crew members live and work together in a small space, isolated from the outside world, and must effectively perform difficult tasks at a high level of alertness, both as individuals and a team.”

Physician astronaut, Dr. Dave Williams of Canada, led the NEEMO undersea excursion in Aquarius off the Florida coast. Aquarius, the only underwater laboratory in the world, is owned and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and operated by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Two additional astronauts, Nicole Stott and Ron Garan, and Dr. Tim Broderick, a physician at the University of Cincinnati, rounded out the crew. Jim Buckley and Ross Hein of UNCW provided undersea engineering support.

The NSBRI study used surveys, physiologic sensors, video analysis, cognitive tests, journaling and the testing of new technologies designed for isolated conditions. One such technology involved computer recognition of participants’ facial expressions, recorded on video during telemedicine activities, to inconspicuously detect levels of psychological distress. Refining behavior-monitoring technologies so that astronauts and aquanauts barely notice them is a goal of the project.

“Each experiment is minimally demanding and quick, requiring only a few minutes on most days,” Dinges said.

While the NEEMO 9 crew members practiced remote surgical techniques, worked with medical robotics and prepared for extra-vehicular activities (EVA), their interaction with each other and with NEEMO’s Mission Control was filmed and recorded. “We’re interested in seeing how they reacted to challenges, made decisions and solved problems, but the most valuable element was capturing lessons learned from every task,” said Dinges, Director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Professor of Psychology.

Participants recorded thoughts and experiences in daily journals, highlighting what they wanted future astronauts and aquanauts to know about the technologies and protocols being tested.

“Even with extensive planning, little glitches occur with devices used in an underwater space. Part of our project asked crew members to communicate how well the procedures and technologies worked in this kind of environment,” Dinges said. “What did the aquanauts think of them? How were they using the equipment? What were their reactions to wearing certain technologies and responding to others? Were they easy to use and helpful? Their feedback is important data.”

To assess physiologic reactions to the isolated environment, crew members provided saliva samples for analysis of cortisol and stress levels and wore a sensor vest to record how their body was reacting physiologically to the experience. Another component addressed sleep and circadian rhythm disruption. Participants wore a watch-like device that recorded sleep/wake activity patterns and light exposure. A fourth component involved performing a battery of cognitive tests before and after scheduled tasks and EVAs. Data collected from each of the study’s components will be analyzed by NSBRI researchers post-mission.

The project aims to refine real-time behavior monitoring and develop models that predict how crews might perform under remote conditions. “Ultimately, the measurements in this project will provide much needed feasibility information on how effectively we can measure individual and group behavior and performance in extreme environments. From there, we can develop technology that will help maintain an astronaut’s ability to perform in space,” Dinges said.

Lauren Hammit | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bcm.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>