The perfect boring situation: addressing the experience of monotony during crewed deep space missions through habitability design

Peldszus, Regina and Dalke, Hilary and Pretlove, Stephen and Welch, Chris (2014) The perfect boring situation: addressing the experience of monotony during crewed deep space missions through habitability design. Acta Astronautica, 94 (1). pp. 262-276. ISSN 0094-5765

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Abstract

In contemporary orbital missions, workloads are so high and varied that crew may rarely experience stretches of monotony. However, in historical long duration missions, occurrences of monotony were, indeed, reported anecdotally by crew. Of the effective countermeasures that appear to be at hand, many rely on visual or logistical proximity to the Earth, and are not feasible in the remote context of an extended deep space mission scenario. There, particularly in- and outbound cruising stages would be characterised by longer, comparably uneventful periods of low workload, coupled with confinement and unchanging vehicle surroundings.

While the challenge of monotony has been pointed out as an exploration-related research area, it has received less explicit attention from a habitation design perspective than other human behaviour and performance issues. The paper addresses this gap through a literature review of the theory and application of design-based mitigation strategies. It outlines models of emergence of monotony, situates the phenomenon in a remote mission context as a problem of sensory, social and spatio-temporal isolation, and discusses proposed countermeasures related to habitability. The scope of the literature is extended to primary sources in the form of a qualitative review of six onboard diaries from orbital and simulator missions, highlighting a range of habitat-related design themes. These are translated into the autonomous deep space setting with the overall rationale of integrating affordances into onboard habitation systems and placing emphasis on reinforcing positive situational characteristics.

Keywords:Habitability, Monotony and isolation, Deep space missions, Human behaviour and performance, Design strategies, Countermeasures, NotOAChecked
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F521 Space Science
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G520 Systems Design Methodologies
H Engineering > H150 Engineering Design
W Creative Arts and Design > W240 Industrial/Product Design
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
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ID Code:26753
Deposited On:29 Mar 2017 08:41

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