Responsible Center: NASA JSC
Grant Monitor: Whitmire, Alexandra
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2019-2020 HERO 80JSC019N0001-HHCBPSR, OMNIBUS2: Human Health Countermeasures, Behavioral Performance, and Space Radiation-Appendix C; Omnibus2-Appendix D
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC21K0669
Project Type: GROUND
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|Human Research Program Gaps:
(1) BMed-102:Given exposures to spaceflight hazards (space radiation, isolation), how do we identify individual susceptibility, monitor molecular/biomarkers and acceptable thresholds, and validate behavioral health and CNS/neurological/neuropsychological performance measures and domains of relevance to exploration class missions? (IRP Rev L)
(2) BMed-103:What are the validated, efficacious treatments (individual or Team-based) and/or countermeasures to prevent adverse behavioral conditions, CNS/neurological, and/or psychiatric disorders caused by either single and/or integrated exposures to spaceflight hazards during exploration class missions? (IRP Rev L)
(3) BMed-105:Given the potentially negative spaceflight associated CNS/cognitive changes and behavioral experiences of stressors during long-duration missions (e.g., isolation, confinement, reduced sensory stimulation, altered gravity, space radiation), what are validated medical or dietary countermeasures to mitigate stressors impacting on CNS / cognition / behavioral health? (IRP Rev L)
(4) Team-103:We need to identify psychological and psychosocial factors, measures, and combinations thereof for use in selecting individuals and composing highly effective crews most likely to maintain team function during shifting autonomy in increasingly earth independent, long duration exploration missions (IRP Rev L)
(5) Team-105:We need to identify a set of countermeasures to support team function and enable multiple distributed teams to manage shifting levels of autonomy for all phases of increasingly earth independent, long duration exploration missions (IRP Rev L)
|| BACKGROUND: The environmental conditions of prolonged spaceflight pose significant psychological risks for astronauts. In particular, long duration exposure to an isolated and confined environment can contribute to adverse cognitive or behavioral events and compromise mission safety and/or success. In order to mitigate against mission-related disruptions arising from decrements in behavioral health and performance, NASA needs a set of validated, timely on-board strategies both to maintain and restore psychological well-being and operational effectiveness. This proposal aims to refine and empirically assess a platform technology designed to monitor and guide crewmembers towards optimal physiological and mental states for current or future tasks via personalized manipulation of the surrounding work environment. Our closed-loop, feedback-based intervention approach will not only enable the maintenance of individual behavioral functioning, but will promote improved team operations as well. Our four specific aims are as follows:
AIM 1: Perform a detailed risk assessment of factors that contribute to personal (and team) dysfunction, particularly in isolated, confined, and extreme environments.
AIM 2: Develop a personalized performance-optimization platform (P-POP) based on closed-loop/feedback that integrates physiological sensing with augmentation of the astronaut’s local working environment (e.g., audio, haptics, light).
AIM 3: Characterize the ability of P-POP to improve key performance capabilities including attention, response time, memory, cognitive control, and operationally-relevant performance.
AIM 4: Assess the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of our proposed platform for use in individuals and teams via empirical testing during long-duration spaceflight analogs.
HYPOTHESES: (Hyp1) The novel P-POP will provide real-time physiological monitoring to enable the personalized manipulation of the local work environment—both in the lab and in Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA). (Hyp2) Our targeted work environment modulations (e.g., sound, haptics, light) will generate significant improvements in individuals’ cognitive and operational performance.
DELIVERABLES: Our project will generate the following deliverables: (1) a characterization of those factors that contribute to poor individual and team performance in isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) settings; (2) a novel platform technology capable of real-time tracking of psychological and behavioral health markers and providing targeted augmentation of the local work environment to manipulate those markers; (3) an evaluation of the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of the proposed platform technology, on both individual and team metrics, including testing in a spaceflight analog. Based on our findings, we will develop specific protocols and guidelines for optimal deployment of our platform, as well as providing standards recommendations.
SIGNIFICANCE: This work will provide NASA with a novel and scalable platform technology for on-board behavioral health management—adapting the local working environment via feedback based biosensing. The approach is personalized and closed-loop, guiding individuals away from less-optimal states (as assessed by physiological measurements) and towards more-optimal states. We expect the approach to help maintain and improve individual performance as well as team performance. The system does not require video displays or graphics. Importantly, however, the platform will be designed for future augmentation via other countermeasure approaches (e.g., visual, olfactory), depending on the needs and capabilities of any particular exploration mission. On Earth, such a platform could have considerable utility for optimizing human performance in a wide range of workplaces.