Human Factors and Performance

Team Overview
Many factors can impact an astronaut's ability to work well in space. The same can be said for the ground support crew's efforts on Earth. The Human Factors and Performance Team is studying ways to improve daily living and keep crewmembers and other personnel healthy, productive and safe during exploration missions.

Overall Team aims are to reduce performance errors and mitigate habitability, environmental and behavioral factors that pose significant risks to mission success. The Team develops guidelines for human systems design and information tools to support crew performance.

Team members are examining ways to improve sleep and scheduling of work shifts as well as how specific types of lighting in the craft and habitat can improve alertness and performance. Other projects address improving the interactions between automated and manual control of a spacecraft and how factors in the environment, such as dust, can impact crew health.

In addition to the benefits to space exploration, the Team's efforts will benefit health and reduce errors and accidents on Earth in a wide range of professions.

Team Leader:
Elizabeth B. Klerman, M.D., Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School-Brigham and Women's Hospital

Associate Team Leader:
Debra Schreckenghost
TRACLabs Inc.


Research supported by NSBRI is looking at the link between an inadequate amount of sleep and an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. The findings were published in the April 11, 2012, issue of Science Translational Medicine. Read the press release here. The NSBRI support was provided through a project led by Charles A. Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D.