The fourth HERA (Human Exploration Research Analog) Campaign (C4) began on May 6 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. C4, one of several research analogs used by NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) to prepare astronauts for deep space missions, will consist of four 45-day missions that simulate a real space exploration without actually leaving Earth. An analog is a situation on Earth that mimics physical and mental effects on the body experienced in space. The crewmembers are Timothy Evans, Andrew Mark Settles, James Titus, and John Kennard. This is an all-male crew – by chance, not by design.
HRP will require the crew to conduct the same experiments on all four C4 missions which will enable researchers to identify patterns and variances in the research data. Experiments will include testing hardware prototypes, creating equipment with a 3-D printer, testing out a new concept for space food, flying a simulated exploration vehicle and a virtual extravehicular activity (EVA) on an asteroid.
While the HERA crew conducts their tasks inside the analog, the HERA analog team and researchers will monitor them from the outside. They will collect crew data on the physiological and psychological effects of extended isolation and confinement, team dynamics and conflict resolution.
HRP’s Flight Analogs Project Manager, Lisa Spence said, “NASA’s astronaut selection process has had great success. We try to identify people for HERA missions who fit a similar profile as astronauts. We also make our analog campaigns emulate real space missions as much as possible, which includes 16-hour crew work days, six days a week, with a real-life timeline of scheduled activities from the HERA Mission Control Center.”
Campaign 4, Mission 1 (C4M1) marks the start of HERA’s 45-day missions. Campaign 1, in 2014, were seven-day missions; Campaign 2, in 2015, were 14-day missions; Campaign 3, in 2016, were 30-day missions. Longer mission length allows for more research studies and more data points relevant to longer duration spaceflight missions.
The other three Campaign 4 missions are scheduled as follows: Mission 2 is Aug. 5 – Sept. 18, Mission 3 is Oct. 21 – Dec. 4, and Mission 4 is Feb. 3 – Mar. 19, 2018.
The Test Subject Screening group is accepting curriculum vitaes (CV) for healthy, non-smoking volunteers, ages 30 to 55 for future missions. Volunteers will be compensated and must pass a physical and psychological assessment to qualify. Volunteers wishing to become test subjects should e-mail their CV to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 281-212-1492.
For more information on NASA’s Human Research Program, visit: www.nasa.gov/hrp.
NASA Human Research Engagement & Communications