Human Support Issues and Systems for the Space Exploration Initiative

Results from Project Outreach

by Jerry Aroesty, R. Zimmerman, J. Logan

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This Note describes the findings of the Human Support panel, one of eight project panels evaluating submissions to the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) Outreach Program, or Project Outreach. Fundamental questions of crew adaptability, tolerance, performance, and survival must be confronted squarely and systematically to assure SEI feasibility, continued support, and eventual success. Human support issues should be incorporated by life scientists early in formulating preliminary requirements and guidelines, planning missions, and designing spacecraft. The authors performed issue-oriented analyses to evaluate Project Outreach submissions in a context of some critical problems: (1) radiation protection for Mars missions requires further research in active shielding techniques; (2) space-based microgravity research is needed to improve the quantitative assessment of long-term effects and possible countermeasures; (3) life-support systems for long-term missions and planetary settlement will require bioregenerative technologies incorporating both ecological and biotechnological approaches; (4) medical care and health maintenance may best be handled by a team approach; (5) human factors need emphasis, since human behavior under prolonged stress, isolation, and confinement could compromise mission success; and (6) EVA (extra-vehicular activity) suits are essential to productive work in space or on the Lunar or Martian surfaces.

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