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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mahalo for the gadgets!

The crew has made it to Hawaii along with NASA researchers and mission support.  Traveling to Hawaii was especially exciting for me because it was my first time leaving North America.  I caught some great views of LA as we started flying over the Pacific.  

During this week of training, we are staying at a beautiful ranch on the Big Island.  As glamorous as it may sound, in reality, our days in training have been filled with powerpoint presentations and questionnaires.. but this has been augmented by the fun of training with high-tech gadgets!

During this 8-month Mars analog mission, we will facilitate research studies of biological samples, social interactions, as well as psychological and cognitive testing with the goal of learning how health and performance change throughout our time in this isolated, confined, extreme environment.

It’s sometimes difficult to be unbiased when answering survey questions about how you are feeling and performin
g.  So, we are working to develop methods that can automatically infer our mental and physical states in an objective, quantitative manner.

My favorite device in the toy chest is Hexoskin biometrics, which are physiological sensors and data processors built into athletic shirts.  Data collected include respiratory and cardiac activity along with movement and sleep monitoring. The Hexoskin application for mobile devices has really amazed the crew with it's beauty and responsiveness.

In the Hexoskin app, the lungs on the screen inflate to match every breath you are taking, and a real-time electrocardiogram scrolls across the screen to show how your heart is beating.  We will be wearing these devices during exercise inside the dome and when we go outside the dome in our spacesuits to explore the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano.

One of the main tasks of our mission will be exploring and surveying the geology of Mauna Loa, which is the largest active volcano on Earth. The crew will be evaluated based on our performance during these assigned extra-vehicular activities (EVAs).  So, up next, we will be traveling to Hawai’i Volcano National Park. There, we will learn techniques for geological surveying that we will need for completing our EVAs throughout the 8-month mission.  

Can’t wait to see the glow of lava!!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing!! Have fun guys!! Can't wait to see the results from the Hexoskin shirt!!