OpNom: JournalsExperiment Overview
Behavioral Issues Associated with Isolation and Confinement: Review and Analysis of Astronaut Journals (Journals) obtains information on behavioral and human issues that are relevant to the design of equipment and procedures and sustained human performance during extended-duration missions. Study results will provide information to help prepare for future missions to low-Earth orbit and beyond.Principal Investigator(s)
Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
October 2003 - September 2014Expeditions Assigned
8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36,37/38,39/40Previous ISS Missions
Journals was performed on ISS during Expeditions 8 through 18. Members of six-person ISS crews will perform the experiment beginning with Expedition 29/30.
A previous content analysis of astronaut journals maintained during ISS expeditions provided quantitative data on which to base a rank-ordering of behavioral issues in terms of importance; participants in that study were members of two and three-person ISS crews. This extension of the Journals Flight Experiment uses the same procedures and techniques as before, but focuses on the journals of astronauts who are members of six-person ISS crews. The objective is to identify equipment, habitat, and procedural features that can help humans when adjusting to isolation and confinement while ensuring they remain effective and productive during future long-duration space operations and expeditions.
While on orbit, crewmembers make journal entries at least three times a week in a personal journal; the journal can be either electronic (i.e., using an ISS laptop) or on paper. In addition to the journal entries, participating crewmembers complete a brief electronic questionnaire at the mid-point of their Expeditions.
Studies on Earth have shown that analyzing the content of journals and diaries is an effective means of identifying issues that are most important to the person recording his or her thoughts. The method is based on the assumption that the frequency that an issue is mentioned in a journal reflects the importance of that issue or category to the writer. The tone of each entry (positive, negative or neutral) and phase of the Expedition are also variables of interest. Study results will lead to recommendations for the design of equipment, facilities, procedures, and training to help sustain behavioral adjustment and performance during long-duration Expeditions on ISS, or to asteroids, the moon, Mars, and beyond. Study results also can be applied to facilitate adjustment on Earth in a variety of settings, from Antarctic research stations and other remote duty locations to enduring the stressors of work or family.
Studies conducted on Earth have shown that analyzing the content of journals and diaries is an effective method for identifying the issues that are most important to a person. The method is based on the reasonable assumption that the frequency that an issue or category of issues is mentioned in a journal reflects the importance of that issue or category to the writer. The tone of each entry (positive, negative, or neutral) and phase of the expedition also are variables of interest. Study results will lead to recommendations for the design of equipment, facilities, procedures, and training to help sustain behavioral adjustment and performance during long-duration space expeditions to the ISS, asteroids, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.Earth Applications
Results from this study could help to improve the behavioral performance of people living and working under a variety of conditions here on Earth.
While on orbit, crewmembers will make journal entries at least 3 times per week in a personal journal. The journal will be downlinked to the PI each month and one final time at the end of the increment via encrypted transmission. A total of ten crewmembers are needed as subjects in the Journals investigation.Operational Protocols
The journal can either be electronic (e.g. using a laptop) or it can be a paper journal (e.g. using a Green Record Book). In addition to the journal entries, the crewmembers will also complete a brief questionnaire at the mid-point of their expeditions. The questionnaire only exists in an electronic form.
Results from the Journals investigation, as described in the NASA/TM-2010-216130 report, provided the first measurable data from space operations on which to base a rank-ordering of behavioral issues. Personal journals generated by ten (10) NASA astronauts who lived and worked on board the International Space Station (ISS) for an average of 188 days were analyzed to obtain information concerning a wide range of behavioral issues. Each journal entry was assigned a code to indicate whether the statement was positive, negative, or neutral in its tone or content and then a metric called Net Positivity/Negativity (NPN) was derived by subtracting the proportion of negative entries from the proportion of positive entries. All but one of the journals spanned a period of at least six months. The participants included men and women; scientists, engineers and pilots; and civilian and military personnel. The 10 participating astronauts devoted a total of 705 sessions to the Journals Experiment and produced 4,247 separate entries composed of nearly 285,000 words—the equivalent of a 1,100-page book. The first level of analysis identified the relative significance of 24 major categories of issues among which the top 10 accounted for 88 percent of all category assignments: Work, Outside Communications, Adjustment, Group Interaction, Recreation/Leisure, Equipment, Events, Organization/Management, Sleep and Food. The second-level of analysis identified subcategories within the major categories and calculated their temporal distributions. The third level of analysis found evidence of a decline in morale (general attitude) and identified key factors that contribute to sustained adjustment and optimal performance during long-duration space expeditions. Responses to questions asked before, during, and after the expeditions suggested that living and working on board the ISS were not as difficult as the astronauts anticipated before starting their six-month tours of duty. Astronauts reported that they benefited personally from writing in their journals, because it helped them maintain perspective on their work and relations with others. It was apparent from the journal entries analyzed that conditions on board the ISS were far better than tolerable, but short of what was necessary to support optimum human performance for sustained periods of routine operations. Crews performed admirably, as expected, and the journals contained many positive statements about living and working in space; however, the tone and content of some entries described problems and conveyed levels of frustration and annoyance. It was also noticed that the crewmembers shared an unusually well-developed sense of self-awareness. The crewmembers participating in this study demonstrated a keen awareness of their capabilities and limitations, a personal quality believed to distinguish them from nearly everyone else. Recommendations include application of study results and continuation of the experiment to obtain additional data as crew size increases and operations evolve.