Increasing Spaceflight Analogue Mission Fidelity by Standardization of Extravehicular Activity Metrics Tracking and Analysis
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Spaceflight analogues include human simulations that attempt to match as many variables of a real mission as possible, but here on Earth and at a fraction of the cost. Each analogue has unique environmental and human performance testing conditions, but they all have limitations. The goal of this Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology Laboratory (S.U.I.T. Lab) research is to improve simulation fidelity through Extravehicular Activity (EVA) data collection, analysis, and feedback, which will help humanity prepare for destinations such as the Moon or Mars. Investigated EVA metrics (e.g. times, distance, “task”, biometrics, as well as many others) are based on the identified NASA Human Research Roadmap research gaps related to the risk of injury and compromised performance due to EVA operations. Previous data acquired on 88 EVAs at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station in 2007, as well as industry data on EVAs, act as a baseline for data collection. Metrics tracked, collected, and analyzed from the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS Crew 188, 2018) will aid in creating protocol recommendations for EVA simulations. Additional work was investigated with mission simulation analogues including the Hawai’i Space Exploration and Analog Simulation (HI-SEAS) and the AMADEE-18 mission (2018, Oman). It is envisioned that the results of these studies will help prescribe systematic field operations and data collection standards, which can then enable technology upgrades to analogue missions, for example pressurized spacesuits. The investigation of human performance data with respect to workload expenditure, will help identify energy limitations, thus training explorers to maximize their potential. It is the intent of the ERAU S.U.I.T. Lab to act as a bridge between international efforts and as a repository of simulated mission EVA data for analysis and enhancement of human spaceflight exploration.