One of the biggest challenges in space colonization is the human element. Our focus is in finding innovative ways to ensure that when we send humans into space, they are not only safe, but are provided a productive and enjoyable stay. Whether the mission is intended for early exploration on planetary bodies or long duration habitation in nearby space stations, we must ensure the living and working environments appropritely accommodate all the crewmembers.
Life support systems keep humans alive in space and are constantly updated with the latest technologies and innnovations found across a variety of disciplines from chemistry to physics to biology. Our team looks at ways to integrate, and measure various life support system designs into future and current spacecraft.
With limited crew time and heavy workloads for astronauts, it is critical for future missions to rely on more and more automation. But the dynamic nature and constantly evolving capabilities of automation can bring different challenges to the crew. We need to ensure that the human can integrate seamlessly with the new technologies without reducing operability and safety of the system.
To ensure seamless integration between human and machine, we need to understand the state of the human. This means capturing data about the human's physical, cognitive, and psychological health and identifying deviations that may be indicators of disease, trauma, or changes in behavior and well-being. Measures of human performance are not only critical for safety and mission assurance, but also for learning what is enjoyable for future space colonies.
While we may not understand even a fraction of the effects of spaceflight on humans, we must at least try and give our astronauts every possible advantage when facing the unknown.
Small satellites for research can help provide answers to biological changes that occur in space and used to develop better life support systems and countermeasures for future space missions.
The NASA STTR Phase 1 work focused on developing a conceptual and early computational framework for modeling astronaut performance given specific spacecraft design choices (i.e. lighting, cabin volume, CO2 levels, etc.).
By teaming with elite athletes, mountaineers, physical trainers, and biophysicists, we can collect data about the ranges of human performance and look at ways for identifying integrated health metrics.
Are you interested in human space colonization? Our newsletter aims to disseminate useful information for spacecraft designers, space human factor researchers, and life support system designers on the latest technologies and research findings that might help you on your journey!