How scientists will track astronauts' mental performance on missions

The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is a research facility designed to simulate conditions on Mars. Credit: Olave Krigolson

A journey to Mars is not going to be easy and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before we go. One interesting problem is how do we monitor the astronauts themselves. Of course, it is easy to monitor their heart rate and blood pressure, but is it possible to monitor what is going on inside their heads?

A recent all-Canadian neuroscience research team spent seven days in the Mars Habitat (the Hab) at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) on a simulated mission trying to tackle that exact problem—developing a capability to monitor brain health and performance in real time.
Using mobile electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain waves, we were able to successfully monitor five…

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