Task Objective Monitoring of Crew Neurobehavioral Functions (105-day Russian Chamber Study) (Completed)
Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:33 AM (Central)
Short Title: RCS-105 Neurobehavioral Function
Responsible HRP Element: Behavioral Health and Performance
Collaborating Org(s):
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):

This project deployed 2 objective neurobehavioral monitoring techniques (psychomotor vigilance This project deployed two objective neurobehavioral monitoring techniques (psychomotor vigilance test (PVT); facial video for optical computer recognition (OCR) and 2 mood scales (Beck Depression Inventory (BDI); Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) in the 105-day Russian chamber study at the Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow, Russia. The IBMP chamber consisted of interconnected sealed modules to simulate a space craft (analog) environment that included confinement, isolation, time delays, pressurization, dependence on and autonomy from mission control, and related behavioral factors. The 105-day isolation experiment in the chamber was the second of IBMP's three chamber studies (14-day study, 105-day study, and 520-day study), which collectively are referred to by IBMP as the Mars-500 project. IBMP indicated that the 105-day chamber study focused on obtaining and analyzing scientific-technical information for optimal organization of preparation and efficient conduct of the main (third) experiment (i.e., 520-day study) simulating all the stages of a manned flight to Mars. Consequently, the 105-day chamber experiment was a pilot study for the 520-day experiment. Lessons learned in the 105-day study were to be used to improve experimental techniques and the completeness and validity of the data acquired in the 520-day study.

This project on Objective Monitoring of Crew Neurobehavioral Functions in RCS-105 was one of 72 separate protocols conducted in the IBMP's 105-day chamber study. The overall goals of this project were to (1) determine the feasibility of acquiring neurobehavioral data (facial video, cognitive performance, psychological assessments) on the 6-person crew during the 105-day simulated mission, using specially programmed computers (mission controllers were added to the data acquisition requirements after the study commenced); (2) determine the feasibility of monitoring mood and fatigue states in crew members throughout the 105-day mission; and (3) Determine the reliability of 3-minute PVT performance throughout the 105 days.

Acquisition of neurobehavioral data on the 6 crewmembers during the 105-day mission in the IBMP Mars-500 chamber was successfully completed using specially programmed notebook computers. During the simulated mission, crewmembers completed a total of 85 (94%) scheduled Beck Depression Inventories (BDI-II); 78 (87%) scheduled Positive and Negative Affect Schedules (PANAS); 1,104 (88%) Psychomotor Vigilance Tests (PVT) and visual analog scale (VAS) ratings; and 19 (63%) WinSCAT tests. Facial videos of crewmembers to assess feasibility of optical computer recognition (OCR) of emotional expressions and fatigue during the PVT tests yielded only 125 (11%) videos technically adequate for OCR evaluation, due to interference from facility lighting (i.e., face shadowed or too dark). Data from 19 mission controllers showed lower adherence on all measures than did the crewmembers. Controllers completed 63% of the PANAS and BDI-II assessments, and only 50% of PVT. Across time in mission, crewmembers' positive mood states tended to decline modestly, but negative moods states and depression were not evident and did not increase. Similarly, VAS ratings of stress and unhappiness did not change across the 105-day mission. In contrast, VAS mental fatigue declined and alertness improved significantly across time in mission. PVT performance on the standard 10-min. PVT task showed increasing errors across time in mission, but the optimized 3-min. PVT did not, nor did measures from the WinSCAT performance battery. Mission controllers showed no statistically significant changes in either positive or negative mood states or performance across time in mission except for total errors on the 10-min. PVT, which appeared to be due to increasing lax effort on the task. Night shift work by crewmembers increased subjective (VAS) ratings of sleepiness, tiredness and physical exhaustion, and increased performance errors, on the PVT, especially the 3-min. optimized PVT. The 105-day project results identified the following changes to procedures that would be needed to ensure the success of such data in longer-duration analog studies (e.g., IBMP's 520-day Mars mission simulation). 1. Adherence to the neurobehavioral procedures in the special computer used need to be adjusted to reduce the evaluation time burden on crews. 2. Evaluation of data quality and quantity must occur regularly throughout the mission to reduce data loss by identifying and correcting problems. 3. Acquisition of facial video for OCR from the built-in computer camera is feasible in the chamber if environmental lighting is standardized, and if special portable lighting of the face in the plane of the computer screen is used during the testing, when video is acquired. 4. Acquisition of subjective reports should use brief rating scales, assess interpersonal conflicts, and by include a measure of social desirability bias at pre-mission. 5. Actigraphy should be used 24/7 during the mission to provide an objective measure of crew behavioral rest-activity cycles for interpretation of performance and subjective data.

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