Responsible Center: NASA JSC
Grant Monitor: Norsk, Peter
Solicitation: 2017 HERO 80JSC017N0001-BPBA Topics in Biological, Physiological, and Behavioral Adaptations to Spaceflight. Appendix C
Grant/Contract No.: Internal Project
Project Type: FLIGHT
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|| Rigorous adherence to available inflight countermeasures has effectively mitigated losses or maintained muscle strength and aerobic capacity in some returning long-duration International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers; however, all astronauts demonstrate significant decrements in functional performance upon return to a gravity environment. These losses in functional performance can be largely attributed to neurovestibular / sensorimotor deficits that can take days or weeks from which to recover and for which there is no current operational countermeasure. Although these losses are tolerable for current land-based returns to Earth, where ground personnel can quickly support the crew at the landing site, this will not be the case for future off-nominal water-based Orion landings or for nominal Mars surface landings, both of which will require crewmembers to be capable of egressing their landing vehicle unassisted.
Quantification of astronauts' post-landing functional capacity including ability to perform an unassisted capsule egress and critical planetary extravehicular activity (EVA) tasks is necessary to design concepts of operation for Moon and Mars exploration mission systems and ultimately to promote exploration mission success. These results can then be reviewed in combination with other pre-flight, in-flight, and post-landing measures and determinants of health and performance (e.g., sleep, nutrition, exercise) to help develop and select necessary countermeasures capable of protecting all crewmembers or to identify characteristics (both behavioral and inherent) that might allow for selection of crew dependent on mission objectives.
Data collected in this proposal will provide unique data on unassisted capsule egress while wearing an unpressurized launch, entry, abort (LEA) suit in Earth's gravity and on EVA-relevant functional task performance by testing astronauts shortly after return to Earth while suited and pressurized in a simulated reduced gravity analog. The research product will be a temporal profile of unassisted capsule egress and planetary EVA task performance pre-flight and at multiple post-landing intervals, the timing of which will be determined based on post-landing logistics and coordination with other investigations. Data will be collected for spaceflight missions ranging from 2 months, 6 months, and up to 1 year in duration. Results of the proposed study will be used in combination with subsequent definition and design of exploration mission systems and operations concepts to define data-based Fitness for Duty standards.