NEEMO 14 Topside Report No. 10, May 25, 2010
NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations

Mission Day 12 - "Teamwork"


Mission day 12 was a busy day on the Aquarius Reef Base. We had a set of two exploration extravehicular activities (EVAs) happening simultaneously with a whole flurry of media and educational outreach events. Interestingly, we also performed our first "sim case" during a NEEMO mission. This simulation was designed for the crew to react to an off-nominal situation for which they were not previously trained. The case that was presented to the crew was that of an injured crewman who had to be rescued during their exploration EVA. This type of scenario really allows the crew and topside team to demonstrate their ability to think outside the lines of a procedure. It requires quick thinking, common sense, technical ability and awareness of safety protocol. Here are more words about this activity:

Team/Autonomy Study titled: Assessing Team Performance in Autonomous Environments

Team performance and team interactions have not been extensively examined within an autonomous environment, specifically an autonomous context similar to that of a long-duration mission. In order to examine these team dynamics and determine the effectiveness of team training implementation, it is imperative that evidence-based research be conducted within a high fidelity analog environment (in other words, an environment that is highly similar to spaceflight). NEEMO missions may be considered a high fidelity space analog for long duration missions when considering key characteristics that the environment provides: constrained communication with missions control, similarity of participants to the astronaut population, relevance of tasks completed, as well as completing a variety of tasks with varying levels of familiarity. Indeed, NEEMO missions serve as an appropriate testbed for this study and will provide the opportunity to collect team interaction and team performance data that are both objective and subjective, and evaluate the effectiveness of a validated team training tool.

This study will examine how teams perform and interact across two levels: 1) Autonomy Condition: tasks that allow or do not allow communication with mission control (assuming that these tasks would be similar to time critical tasks in a long duration mission in which the crew would be prohibited from communicating with mission control) and 2) Novelty Condition: tasks that are either novel or familiar (assuming that novel tasks are similar to tasks that a crew may encounter during a long duration mission in which they have no prior training but must address). This feasibility study will contribute towards a preliminary understanding of how teams perform and interact in high fidelity autonomous environments. In addition, this study will also provide insight as to the importance of team training and the magnitude of its impact on team performance in this context.