As of May 2016, two of the three HI-SEAS missions (four months and eight months) planned under this award have been completed, and the third (twelve months) is under way, scheduled to finish August 28, 2016.
The current status of the research is described below, as a set of sub-projects. However, please note that all data will shared across projects and, once the final twelve-month mission is complete, we will be able to integrate this data for higher-level analysis. For all sub-projects, data collection is complete for the 4- and 8-months mission, and ongoing for the 12-month mission.
TRACKING LONG-TERM DYNAMICS
This research study investigates how people react, cope, and adjust to working together in ICE (isolated, confined, extreme) environments. In the environment, much like an astronaut, participants will work collaboratively with team members to accomplish a mission that requires interdependence and teamwork. We are interested in the ebb and flow of team member perceptions and reactions throughout the ICE experience. In addition, we wish to better understand the formation, maintenance, and restoration of team cohesion. Participants wear a commercially available social interaction badge that captures their interactions with other participants.
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND EVA (Extravehicular Activity) DEBRIEFS
For this study, we conduct a series of end-of-mission debriefs, to develop a timeline of crew conflict and conflict management processes. We qualitatively analyze all in-mission EVA crew debriefs, based on existing theories of task/relationship team conflict resolution processes, to identify potential decrements to cohesion across mission duration using behavioral coding (e.g., behavioral indicators of "openness" approaches and "avoid" approaches). We then compare data from EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) debriefs to the overall conflict timeline to map conflict resolution processes to self-reported periods of heightened conflict and heightened cohesion decrements.
TEAM PERFORMANCE TASK (TPT)
The goal of this protocol is to characterize social dynamics, team performance capacity, and biopsychosocial adaptation over time in the isolated, confined, and extreme space analog environment of HI-SEAS.
The primary research activity for this protocol is regular sessions administering our prototype "Team Performance Task" (TPT) software, an objective behavioral economic assay of cooperation, productivity, and fairness in small groups. In addition to the TPT sessions, the Crew also completes an online "Dyad Questionnaire." This survey lists a wide variety of interaction patterns (e.g., professional/collegial, personal/friendly, antagonistic/conflict), and is administered in a sociometric format where each Crew member selects the applicable interaction pattern(s) during the past week for all possible interpersonal pairings (dyads).
ANSIBLE (A Network of Social Interactions for Bilateral Life Enhancement), named after a fictitious interstellar communications device from science fiction, opportunistically combines Virtual Environments (VEs) and Virtual Agents (VAs) and incorporates evidence-based psychological health promoting strategies to augment asynchronous communications, increase connectedness between crew members and their informal social support system (e.g., friends, family, colleagues), enhance awareness of psychological health, and combat social and sensory monotony.
ANSIBLE is a multi-modal toolset that leverages evidence based wellness promoting strategies to 1) augment asynchronous communications using VEs and facilitate novel interaction methods beyond email and video playback, 2) use the inherently immersive and stimuli rich nature of VEs to counteract sensory monotony, and 3) leverage VEs and intelligent VAs to provide companions and advisors to combat social monotony. Further, VAs capable of detecting changes in astronaut psychosocial states can increase astronaut self-awareness, suggest countermeasures, and provide rehearsal scenarios to maintain and enhance interpersonal skills.
The ANSIBLE system was deployed at HI-SEAS for the beginning of the current twelve-month mission, and has been collecting data throughout.
We measure a range of cognitive functions using Cognition, a comprehensive, software-based, neurocognitive toolkit. The ten Cognition tests include (but go beyond) what is currently measured by WinSCAT and the Reaction Self Test on the International Space Station (ISS), and take 20-30 minutes to complete. The toolkit will permit rapid assessment of performance in cognitive, social-emotional, and sensorimotor domains. The Cognition toolkit has been validated in a NASA ground-based study as well as on the ISS. We use these measures as base controls to control for the effects of other factors (e.g., emotional state, crew cohesion) on performance.
SMART-OP (Stress Management and Resilience Training for Optimal Performance) is a self-guided, multimedia, interactive, computer-based, stress management and resilience training program based on evidenced-based cognitive-behavioral principles and emotion regulation approaches. The main aim of this project is to evaluate SMART-OP for acceptability and usability in a space analog environment with a sample of individuals participating in 8- and 12-month missions at the HI-SEAS facility.
VIRTUAL SPACE STATION (VSS)
Living in an ICE analog can induce conflict, stress, and depression. Computer-based behavioral health countermeasures are appealing for training and treatment in ICE because they provide confidentiality and do not require communication with the outside environment. Autonomous, confidential, training, and treatment for behavioral health issues will need to be a critical component of long duration spaceflight travel. This work provides an evaluation of such a tool in a relevant ICE environment.
We evaluated the Virtual Space Station (VSS), a suite of interactive computer-delivered psychological training and treatment programs, during the eight-month HI-SEAS mission. This evaluation continues in the 12-month mission, which is currently ongoing.
GEOLOGY FIELD TASKS
One goal of HI-SEAS is to evaluate crew performance over missions of increasing length. To meet this objective, a team of geologists works with the research team to develop geology field tasks for the crew to complete in the area surrounding the habitat. These team-oriented tasks are designed to be gradable with quantifiable metrics so that meaningful conclusions about crew performance can be drawn. The tasks are designed to specify what the crew should accomplish, without telling them how, in order to test the crew’s effectiveness in managing the tasks under high-autonomy conditions.
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings
Binsted K, Basner M, Bedwell W, Caldwell B, Chang D, Hunter J, Kozlowski S, Nasrini J, Roma P, Santoro J, Seibert M, Shiro B, Wu P. "Investigations at HI-SEAS into Team Function and Performance on Long Duration Exploration Missions." 2016 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 8-11, 2016.
2016 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 8-11, 2016. , Feb-2016