Team performance in a Mars habitat under various scenarios


Project description:

MAPEX – The Living Habitat: Team performance of human-human and human-agent teams in a Mars habitat under various scenarios

The Chair of Business Psychology and Human Resources, Prof. Vera Hagemann and Ksenia Appelganc, is collaborating in a cross-departmental and interdisciplinary project entitled "The Living Habitat" with the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM, Dr.-Ing- Christiane Heinicke) and the Sustainable Communication Networks (Prof. Förster, FB01) at the University of Bremen. We are investigating teamwork and team performance in extreme environments as well as the collaboration and the experience of working in human agent teams.

Living on Mars will be an immense challenge for human beings. Not only the environment outside the habitat is lethal but also the psychological effects of being isolated from other human beings and the nearly uninterrupted confinement are making the colonization of the Mars more difficult. In addition, the humans have to entrust their lives to the life support system (LSS) of the habitat. The trust will be influenced greatly by how well the human crew can understand and control the LSS. A crew on Mars works in intensive interdependence, which requires immense coordination and frequent interaction and information acquisition. Meaning that to the complexity of the task controlling the LSS the complexity of relationships in the crew is added. This is called crew coordination complexity.

The crew belongs to a High Responsibility Team (HRT). Thus, the crew is facing various challenges like having to coordinate multiple highly interactive processes coupled with the dynamic control aspect of the continuous process. HRT means teams working in extreme environments that have to work in dynamic and often unpredictable conditions and demanding work contexts. For HRT´s mistakes can have severe consequences for humans and the environment.

The long-term vision of our idea, for which the proposed seed project will help lay the foundation, is to develop and investigate human-centered habitat technologies such that they, together with the human crew, form a union that will result in a safe and overall successful stay on Mars.

As part of this 3-part seed project  „The living Habitat“ within the MAPEX cluster initiative „Researching pathways toward a long-term sustainable, ethically acceptable human settlement of Mars“ the project „Team performance of human-human and human-agent teams in a Mars habitat under various scenarios“ investigates how human users  fit into the technological environment of the habitat on Mars and how their team processes and performance can be improved by adaptations of the technological environment and in cooperation with an artificial intelligence. The goal of our investigation is to understand the tasks as well as the teamwork and decision-making processes within a team working and living in the habitat. In addition to integrating existing knowledge, new basic research needs to be conducted in the area of teamwork in extreme environments and Human-Autonomy Teaming, which is still in its infancy.

The project is taking place as part of the initiative "Humans on Mars - Pathways to Long-Term and Sustainable Settlement."


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