Researchers from UCA participate in a NASA project that will speed up the selection of future astronauts 15 September 2017

The Department of Psychology will work to analyze in depth the emotional and psychosocial cultural aspects that may influence the behavior of the crews of upcoming space missions

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched a major international project, coordinated from the University of Pennsylvania through Dr. David F. Dinges, which aims to create a Specialized Center of Research (NSCor), where it is planned to study biomarkers and risk factors related to adaptation and resilience in similar environments of future manned space missions.

In other words, in this space will be studied emotional and psychosocial aspects of subjects who will remain isolated for a time in three different facilities to help create various profiles to facilitate and speed up the selection of future astronauts. To this end, a group of multidisciplinary researchers have been formed that belong to different institutions such as NASA (Johnson Space Center), the universities of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Pittsburgh, two US private labs. (Draper Laboratory and Wyle Labs), the German Space Agency (DLR), various German universities, the German Antarctic Station – Neumayer III and the University of Cadiz.

The participation of UCA in this work has been possible thanks to the previous work done by Dr. Gabriel González de la Torre, Department of Psychology and member of the research group Emotional Intelligence (HUM-843), who has previously participated in R&D and similar projects such as Mars 500 and will be responsible, over the next four years, to “analyze the cultural differences between the subjects participating in this study and see how they affect them in performance and emotional aspects. In this project there will be German and American subjects, who in turn will be of diverse cultural origin, “as Professor González de la Torre says. “We want to see if the cultural issue influences the coexistence between them and their performance, so we will evaluate all the psychological factors that affect this aspect of people who are going to be in isolation during this work,” says the researcher of UCA.

The purpose of this study is to find biomarkers that help to select those subjects that have a more suitable profile for long duration missions, where they have to live in a small space, in a stressful environment and with people of different origin.