Assessments of Physiology And Cognition in Hybrid-reality Environments (APACHE) -- Physical Workload Approximation



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


The Human Physiology, Performance, Protection & Operations Laboratory (H-3PO) at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) is developing a hybrid reality exploration surface analog, "Assessments of Physiology And Cognition in Hybrid-reality Environments" (APACHE). The goal of APACHE is to create a planetary extravehicular activity (EVA) simulation environment that provides a representative physical and cognitive workload approximation using a combination of virtual reality (VR), physical reality, and hybrid reality (HR) techniques. To develop and characterize the physical workload approximation within the APACHE environment, a two-part approach was implemented. In part 1, baseline physical workload during ambulation within APACHE was evaluated and compared with that in other planetary EVA analog environments and with existing data sets from Apollo planetary EVAs and reduced gravity testing of prototype planetary spacesuits. For this evaluation, 10 subjects were asked to ambulate in three surface analog environments: a passive treadmill in APACHE, natural terrain in an outdoor field environment, and a standard motorized treadmill. Subjects' heart rate and metabolic rate (VO2/VCO2) were measured and compared among the different test conditions and existing data sets. Gait parameters were also collected to compare with suited mechanics and to understand the role of gait kinematics in physical workload. In part 2, the aim is to evaluate the addition of a custom weighted body suit to the aforementioned surface analog environments and the ability to titrate the suit configuration to provide the best possible physical workload approximation for simulation of lunar and Martian EVAs.


Alex Baughman, GeoControl Systems, US
Kyoung Jae Kim, KBR, US
Kadambari Suri, KBR, US
Andrew Abercromby, NASA Johnson Space Center, US
ICES403: Extravehicular Activity: Operations
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


extravehicular activity, surface analog, virtual reality, workload, hybrid reality