This project requires the development of full motion simulators to perform both sensorimotor tests and operator proficiency assessments during simulated landings in a T-38 jet, driving a car, and operating a Mars rover. In April 2011 we completed installation of the primary system at NASA JSC. Backup systems have also been installed at the Human Aerospace Laboratory at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and the University of Sydney. The Sydney system has been utilized for development of experimental hardware and the New York system was used to develop and test experimental software. The JSC system is for pre and post-flight testing of astronaut subjects.
Each system is based on a 6 degree-of-freedom stewart platform (V7, CKAS, Melbourne, Australia). A cylindrical polypropylene water tank (2.2 m diameter; 1.7 m height) formed the cabin, and was attached to a 50mm thick plywood base bolted to the motion platform. Three ceiling mounted short-throw DLP projectors (BENQ 515ST) provide a 180 deg field-of-view display. Subjects are placed in a racing seat and restrained by a 4-point harness (Corbeau A4, USA). The control pod includes a steering wheel and joystick, and three pedals (outer pedals used for rudder input during flight; right and middle pedal used for accelerator and brake for driving simulations). The simulator can be used for a variety of full-motion scenarios. To date we have implemented commercially available PC flight (X-plane and Microsoft) and driving (rfactor) simulations; and a custom developed simulation of a Mars rover operation.
In second year of this project, we focused on implementation and validation of these simulations in preparation for baseline data collection. In addition, the simulator performs a variety of sensorimotor assessments including manual tracking, motion perception, and oculomotor function.
Objective: Drive a vehicle (Lexus ISF) along a 5 km winding mountain road as quickly and safely as possible within the maximum speed limit (55 mph).
Measures: Average speed; braking at turns; speed during turns; lane deviations (number of times outside of lane, time to recover); collisions
Objective: Perform T-38 landings (3) at Ellington field runway 17R (initial conditions 3 NM from runway, 1500 ft altitude, 300 KIAS; using a modified overhead square pattern.
Measures: Flaps, gear-down; appropriate airspeed during closed pattern; touchdown speed.
Mars Rover Task
Objective: Perform rover navigation and docking tasks.
Measures: Accuracy in indicating initial direction to target; time to complete surface transit to docking target; time to complete the docking maneuver
Year 2 Project Milestones
April 2011: The pre/post-flight experimental system at JSC successfully passed a final delta User Readiness Review (URR) and Test Readiness Review (TRR) and is man-rated by the JSC safety panel.
June 2011: Project selected for flight.
September 2011: Informed consent briefings for Increment 33/34 (prime and backup)
December 2011: First two subjects signed up for experiment.
February 2012: Complete end-to-end run of entire protocol successfully performed for NASA management, including Linda Loerch and Peter Norsk.
March 2012: Experiment Document submitted; project gained CPHS approval.
July/August 2012: Pre-flight data collection scheduled on first subject.
EDITOR'S NOTE (3/5/2013): In order to continue work on the flight phase of this project, it was requested by the PI that the new award (NNX12AM25G) commence 9/6/2012. See project with same title appended with NNX12AM25G for subsequent reporting.