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105-Day Mars Simulation: U.S. Studies Focus on Improving Work Performance
Date:7/13/2009

t was invaluable. "We've done experiments in the sleep lab to test the efficacy of lighting interventions, but that is a highly controlled environment," said Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, leader of the NSBRI project funded from Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and University of Colorado. "By transitioning studies into an operational environment, like the 105-Day Mission, we have the opportunity to learn how to best deploy interventions in a realistic mission setting. This analog is a great intermediate step before implementation on an actual spaceflight."

Participation from the crew and mission controllers was excellent. All three NSBRI projects received data throughout the mission. Final data will be received in the coming weeks, and the teams will begin detailed data analysis.

"These tests and interventions have an impact beyond the space program," Dinges said. "Many people work night shifts and in high-stress, confined environments that require alertness, such as power plant control rooms, railroad systems, hospitals, military operations, and fire and rescue situations. The things that we are learning here about how to enhance performance will be useful in many work environments."

NSBRI Project Overviews

Lighting Intervention Study (Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, lead investigator): The study compared two different wavelengths of light (in the green spectrum) during night-shift work with a control lighting condition (in the red spectrum). Crew members and mission control personnel participated. The experiment, which replicated studies done in sleep laboratories, examined whether exposure to green-enriched light will help sustain job performance in the middle of the night and when participants have been awake for a long time. The study looked at the impact of the light on melatonin, the body's sleep-promoting hormone. Additional
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SOURCE National Space Biomedical Research Institute
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