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Human Spaceflight Performance: Bootstrapping the intersection of Biometrics and Artistic Expression through planetary mission analogue EVAs.

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Abstract

Human spaceflight activities often compartmentalize projects by domain, but it is hypothesized that data sets gathered within interdisciplinary frameworks can produce the richest outcomes. This research investigates the intersection of projects native to both hemispheres of the brain to offer a new methodology for proposing research projects focused on using planetary mission analogue extravehicular activities (EVA). These simulated, multi-permutation, EVAs are critical for preparing humans for missions to the Moon or Mars. Minimal investment is required to train a crew in an extreme environment compared to actual spaceflight and locations can enlighten and influence our exploration plans ranging from how we design life support equipment, tools, and assess workload to human behaviour, joy, and play, i.e. our culture. Collaboration by the authors has occurred at the Mars Desert Research Station (USA), with follow on work at LunAres Moon/Mars Research Station (Poland), and with the Mars Academy USA NEAMAE Project (Nepal). Biometric tracking of astronauts is a well-understood medical discipline, but astronaut workload is being further investigated to understand how the physical parameters of an EVA (terrain slope, duration, and consumables) contribute to long-duration mission planning. Artistic expression in this work is highlighted by "Performing Astronautics", which places art practice and big-data immersive visualisation tools in modern astronautics, exploration, and extreme performance sites. These projects were brought together through the use of common technology including biomedical devices, video and motion recording equipment. The qualitative data is maximized through the context of interdependent, layered, and complex interdisciplinary mission scenario simulations, providing higher fidelity insights into the impact and significance of the performance data in question. The simulated EVAs, survival training, and mission scenarios are opportunities to build new technology innovations to solve complex problems through an experimental process under relevant constraints. Support for human spaceflight may wax and wane and vary between nations, but with analogue missions, private or public, the crew becomes the platform themselves: implementing and expanding research data collection and capabilities by innovating within the complexity of a bootstrapped mission environment. This paper will discuss the multidiscipline approach, highlight data results from the investigations, and make recommendations for how this approach can be assimilated into transdisciplinary exploration strategies.

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... Barnes and I examined tools for visualisation/ representations of the data to support future work on the astronaut dance analysis and notation, as well as augment the choreographic-performance process itself to draw attention to our innovative tool-supported translocated movement instruction [43] [44]. Bootstrapping a RoM study [45], we used an algorithm to quantify results by overlaying a range of movement model of the dynamic gestures in the airlock from static cameras in the intense lighting. The machine learning identified the human in the spacesuit frame-by-frame. ...
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Bone density loss and muscle atrophy are among the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) highest concerns for crew health in space. Countless hours are spent maintaining an exercise regimen aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to counteract the effect of zero-gravity. Looking toward the future, NASA researchers are developing new compact and innovative exercise technologies to maintain crew health as missions increase in length and take humans further out into the solar system. The X1 Exoskeleton, initially designed for assisted mobility on Earth, was quickly theorized to have far-reaching potential as both an in-space countermeasures device and a dynamometry device to measure muscle strength. This lower-extremity device has the ability to assist or resist human movement through the use of actuators positioned at the hips and knees. Multiple points of adjustment allow for a wide range of users, all the while maintaining correct joint alignment. This paper discusses how the X1 Exoskeleton may fit NASA's on-orbit countermeasures needs.
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Data from recent Mars missions suggest that Mars almost certainly had abundant liquid water on its surface at some time in the past. As a result, Mars has emerged as a key solar system target that could have harbored some form of life in the past, and which could perhaps still possess remnants of life in brine-containing permafrost. As Mars lost its atmosphere it became cold and dry. Any remaining water on the surface may have formed saline brine pockets within the permafrost. These brine pockets may either be an “oasis” for an extant Martian biota, or the last refuge of an extinct Martian biota. Eventually, these brine pockets would have dried to form evaporites. Evaporites are deposits that result from the evaporation of saline water, which on earth represent primarily halite (NaCl), gypsum, (CaSO42H2O), and anhydrite (CaSO4). Evaporites that contain bacterial and algal assemblages exist on earth today and are well known in the fossil record. The most likely organism type to survive in a brine or evaporite on earth is a halophile. The objective of this study was to determine the potential of microbes to survive in frozen evaporites. Washed mid-log phase and stationary phase cultures of Haloarcula-G (a species isolated by us during a previous study) and Halobacterium salinarum were either suspended in brine (25% NaCl solution), dried, and then exposed to −20 or −80 °C. For comparison, cultures of Deinococcus radiodurans, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas fluorescens were treated similarly, except they were resuspended in 0.5% NaCl solution. Also, to mimic a brine pocket samples of washed mid-log phase cells of each organism were placed in an aqueous solution of 25% NaCl, or in their respective nutrient medium containing 25% NaCl. Periodically, samples of the cells were removed and tested for survival. Data from these experiments suggest that halophiles survive better than non-halophiles under low temperature conditions. These observations would suggest that halophiles might survive in evaporites contained in permafrost.
Article
Introduction: Medical requirements for the future crew exploration vehicle (CEV), lunar surface access module (LSAM), advanced extravehicular activity (EVA) suits, and Lunar habitat are currently being developed within the exploration architecture. While much is known about the vehicle and lunar surface activities during Apollo, relatively little is known about whether the hardware, systems, or environment impacted crew health or performance during these missions. Also, inherent to the proposed aggressive surface activities is the potential risk of injury to crewmembers. The Space Medicine Division at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) requested a study in December 2005 to identify Apollo mission issues relevant to medical operations impacting crew health and/or performance during a lunar mission. The goals of this project were to develop or modify medical requirements for new vehicles and habitats, create a centralized database for future access, and share relevant Apollo information with various working groups participating in the exploration effort.
Article
Quantified astronaut task performance will lead to enhanced training, more efficient crew operations, and optimized mission planning. In order to systematically address the relationships between the astronaut, tasks to be accomplished, and environment, analytical models were developed in conjunction with pressurized space suit experiments and state of the art robotic technology. A joint angle and torque database was compiled for the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU space suit), with a novel measurement technique using both human test subjects and an instrumented robot. Using data collected in the experiment, a mathematical hysteresis modeling technique was used to predict EMU joint torques from joint angular positions. The hysteresis model was then applied to extravehicular activity (EVA) operations by mapping out the reach and work envelopes for the EMU. Suited astronaut range of motion limits and locomotion were also explored, yielding quantifiable results about the limitations astronauts would face if the current EMU, or an EMU-like suit, was used for a planetary exploration mission. With better understanding of astronaut performance we can look ahead to future missions and propose both improvements to the current space suit as well as revolutionary new designs for partial gravity locomotion space suits. Concepts have been developed for a Bio-Suit System that could revolutionize human space exploration by providing enhanced astronaut EVA locomotion and life support based on the concept of providing a `second skin' capability for astronaut performance. The Bio-Suit System would provide life support through mechanical counterpressure where pressure is applied to the entire body through a tight-fitting suit with a pressurized helmet for the head. This ongoing research is aimed at radical advances in our ability to understand, simulate, and predict capabilities of suited astronauts in a variety of scenarios.
Article
Humankind's innate curiosity makes us wonder whether life is or was present on other planetary bodies such as Mars. The EuroGeoMars 2009 campaign was organized at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) to perform multidisciplinary astrobiology research. MDRS in southeast Utah is situated in a cold arid desert with mineralogy and erosion processes comparable to those on Mars. Insight into the microbial community composition of this terrestrial Mars analogue provides essential information for the search for life on Mars: including sampling and life detection methodology optimization and what kind of organisms to expect. Soil samples were collected from different locations. Culture-independent molecular analyses directed at ribosomal RNA genes revealed the presence of all three domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya), but these were not detected in all samples. Spiking experiments revealed that this appears to relate to low DNA recovery, due to adsorption or degradation. Bacteria were most frequently detected and showed high alpha- and beta-diversity. Members of the Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Gemmatimonadetes phyla were found in the majority of samples. Archaea alpha- and beta-diversity was very low. For Eukarya, a diverse range of organisms was identified, such as fungi, green algae and several phyla of Protozoa. Phylogenetic analysis revealed an extraordinary variety of putative extremophiles, mainly Bacteria but also Archaea and Eukarya. These comprised radioresistant, endolithic, chasmolithic, xerophilic, hypolithic, thermophilic, thermoacidophilic, psychrophilic, halophilic, haloalkaliphilic and alkaliphilic micro-organisms. Overall, our data revealed large difference in occurrence and diversity over short distances, indicating the need for high-sampling frequency at similar sites. DNA extraction methods need to be optimized to improve extraction efficiencies.
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