The Space Human Factors and Habitability (SHFH) Element consists of three main research portfolios: Advanced Environmental Health (AEH), Advanced Food Technology (AFT), and Space Human Factors Engineering (SHFE).
The AEH portfolio focuses on understanding the risk of microbial contamination of the spacecraft and on the development of standards for exposure to potential toxins, such as lunar dust. This portfolio also proposes countermeasures to these risks by making recommendations that relate to requirements for environmental quality, foods, and crew health on spacecraft and space missions. The AFT portfolio focuses on reducing the mass, volume, and waste of the entire integrated food system to be used in exploration missions, while investigating processing methods to extend the shelf life of food items up to five years. The portfolio also delivers improvements in both the food itself and the technologies for storing and preparing it. The SHFE portfolio establishes human factors standards and guidelines for interaction of the human system with hardware, software, procedures, and the spacecraft environment. Humans interact with these other entities through “interfaces” such as workstations. SHFE provides validated human models for predicting the effects of interface designs on human performance, methods for measuring performance of humans and the human-system combination, and improved design concepts for advanced crew interfaces and habitability systems. SHFE also facilitates development of tools, metrics, and methodologies for use in implementation, assessment, and validation of standards and requirements.