Human Factors for Small Net Habitable Volume: The Case for a Close-Quarter Space Habitat Analog



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47th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Increasing efforts in sending humans to Mars calls for greater consideration of the affects on behavioral health from the design of transit vehicles and surface habitats. The isolation, confinement, boredom, and lack of privacy over what may be a multi-year mission to Mars can severely impact team dynamics, health, and overall performance, not to mention the influence of crew composition itself. So far, space stations and terrestrial analogs have provided some insight on human factors and team-dynamics for the ideal “space-home.” However, more research is needed on emergency, modified-habitats for off-nominal scenarios on deep-space missions. In the event that parts of a Mars-mission habitat are compromised or are no longer habitable, the crew may be forced to temporarily live and operate from a significantly reduced volume of space. Some of the analogs operational today are capable of supporting research on reduced net habitable volume. However, they are often difficult to gain access to, or can be considerably expensive to operate given the focus on just a small section. To overcome these obstacles, an interdisciplinary team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been designing and developing their own space habitat analog: The Mobile Extreme Environment Research Station (MEERS). Designed out of the compact shell of an Airstream trailer, MEERS will be capable of housing 4-6 crewmembers for up to 2 weeks fully self-sustained. Because of its original use, MEERS is unique in its capability of being transported to any particular research location and allowing for mission-specific layout configurations, all while operating at a reduced cost. This paper provides the argument for increased research on emergency habitation modules, and describes how the MEERS facility may contribute to our understanding of this critical topic.


Victor Kitmanyen, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Timothy Disher, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Ryan Kobrick, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Jason Kring, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
ICES502: Space Architecture
The 47th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in South Carolina, USA on 16 July 2017 through 20 July 2017


Mars, Deep, Space, Analog, Habitat, Minimal, Acceptable, Net, Habitable, NHV, NASA, Commercial, Planetary Mission, Human Factors, Engineer, Transport, Mobile, Extreme, Environment Research, Station Design, Crew, Selection, Composition, Isolation, Confinement, Dynamics, Performance, Comparative, Analysis, Crewmembers, Sustain