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Human Research Program

Autonomous Behavioral Health Countermeasures for Spaceflight

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

In this reporting year we have deployed the VSS to three space analog environments: The HI-SEAS Mars Analog for both the 8-month and 12-month missions, the Canada Forces Alert Arctic Station, and South Pole Station in Antarctica for use as a treatment resource. Each of these environments is isolated and confined with limited communication and access to the outside world. We established each of these analog evaluations independently, and are continuing to work through the NASA-NSF research channels to employ the VSS as a research tool in the Antarctic. We have designed and built the integrated behavioral health assessment and it has been reviewed by our research colleagues at the NASA Johnson Space Center. We will begin integrating it into the current VSS and seeking feedback from the astronaut population for acceptability. We are also in the process of expanding the VSS Conflict resolution content with a conflict management component. We have completed the script, set film dates, and sought actors to complete the content. The scene will be designed so participants can choose a path through a simulated conflict, similar to the current Conflict content, which has been well received. The content incorporates negotiation techniques to guide users through techniques for achieving better conflict outcomes. The VSS is in the process of being converted to a web-based format with the conversion completed for the Conflict and Depression modules. We are beginning to transition the program to a permanent, secure server so it can be hosted online. This allows greater flexibility and easier deployment, as well as alleviating compatibility and continuity issues. We have developed several virtual reality scenes in-house: Fall in New England, an Urban Retreat filmed around Houston public spaces, an indoor Control scene for experimental evaluation, and a Microgravity scene, filmed on a parabolic flight campaign. We have also purchased several natural scenes filmed in Ireland, Bavaria, and Australia. All VR films greater than 15 minutes in length are on deployment in our analog environments. We have also performed a lab-based evaluation using physiologic measures to validate the use of VR for stress reduction and relaxation. More »

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