Planetary Analogue EVA Medical Emergency Simulations


Future NASA planetary exploration will call for extended human presence in space, with long term missions to the Moon, Mars, and/or asteroids. This human presence in extra-terrestrial locations will require use of planetary surface extra-vehicular activities (EVAs), which will involve inherently dangerous procedures which can put crew safety at risk. An EVA is defined as any activity performed by a pressure-suited crewmember in unpressurized environments (internal or external to habitable modules). One need only peruse proposed EVA operations for future planetary surface missions to understand the risks astronauts will be exposed to. These EVAs will include activities such as base construction, base operation and maintenance, emergency and safety procedures, planetary surface exploration, planetary surface science, robotic operation and maintenance, and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) operations. In cases where EVA crewmembers are faced with medical emergencies, they will have to be expeditiously transported back to a pressurized habitat, undergo the repressurization cycle to enter the habitat, and have the spacesuit removed to initiate emergency treatment. To help mitigate these EVA emergencies, astronaut training programs will spend substantial attention on preparing for planetary surface operations. One of the sites where emergency procedures can be developed is the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). This Mars analogue site provides an excellent platform for aerospace medical research investigating the complexities of medical science in a remote and hostile setting [1]. To this end, one of the main goals of MDRS Crew 126 was to assess EVA emergency rescue equipment and procedures, focusing on transportation operations using various configurations of wheeled stretcher concepts in varying terrain (i.e. smooth, medium, and rough terrain). This paper summarizes these EVA emergency simulations, provides recommendations, and identifies future areas of research.

In 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention
Eiji Onchi
Eiji Onchi
Space Production Engineer
PhD. in Kansei Science

Kansei designer and Mechatronic engineer, learning something new everyday.