In spaceflight, human factors are critical to achieving mission objectives and maintaining crew health and safety. Humans must live and work in an inherently hostile environment, which impairs cognitive and physical readiness due to isolation and confinement, radiation, microgravity, sleep deprivation, vibration, and communication complexities. Astronauts use bulky, constraining, yet life-sustaining equipment, tools, and systems. For example, spacesuits used for extravehicular activities restrict gross body coordination and fine motor skills due to the necessary rigidity of the material to protect from the vacuum of space. Helmets restrict vision and communication. Strategic and evidence-based human factors design of space systems are needed to mitigate the risk to the humans in the system, particularly on long-duration missions in which small stressors may accumulate.
Spaceflight human factors experts approach countermeasure design from an often interdisciplinary perspective. Anthropometry and biomechanics inform solutions for accommodating the human body in space. Psychology and neuroscience predict cognitive decrements that may occur from suboptimal designs of habitats, systems, or tasks, and offer avenues to monitor alertness and readiness to perform work during different phases of flight (e.g., ascent/descent, planetary operations, microgravity operations). A comprehensive approach to risk mitigation in a closed spaceflight system allows researchers and engineers to build solutions to human factors problems that address a myriad of challenges simultaneously.
Given that there has been an increasing trend of applying human factors and ergonomics principles to space exploration—we are hosting a special issue in the Human Factors journal dedicated to this exciting topic.
In this special issue, we invite theoretical, methodological, and empirical efforts that involve the application of Human Factors and Ergonomics principles to spaceflight. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, theory development, reviews, countermeasure development and implementation, simulation and training, human performance, teamwork, human-system integration (human-computer interaction, human-automation integration, human-robotics integration, adaptive systems), augmented and virtual reality, hedonomics vs ergonomics, related behavioral health outcomes, habitat and interface design, habitat layout and flexibility/reconfigurability of the hab and equipment, task design, designs accommodating fatigue (related to sleep or general physical readiness), and methodology (e.g., data collection, data analysis, advanced analysis methods and modeling), grounded in Human Factors principles and applied to spaceflight contexts. We encourage submissions examining different eras of spaceflight; different mission durations; lunar, Mars, and/or low Earth orbit missions; and submissions with an international perspective.
Contributions from disciplines outside of (e.g., medicine, computer science, clinical psychology, communication), but related to, human factors are encouraged to submit papers.
Deadline for submissions of full manuscripts is April 30th, 2021.
For more information, contact: Eduardo Salas, Ph.D. | firstname.lastname@example.org; Lauren Landon, Ph.D. | email@example.com ; Jessica Marquez, Ph.D. | firstname.lastname@example.org
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