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HERA Habitat: A Solution to Space

Marisol Gallagher

Chris Boyer/Unsplash

HOUSTON — HERA is an abbreviation for Human Exploration Research Analog. It is a one-of-a-kind three-story habitat designed to simulate isolation, confinement, and remote conditions in exploration scenarios. People in the HERA habitat push themselves to their limits to prepare for missions in orbit and beyond.

Studies that are appropriate for this analog include, but are not limited to, behavioral health and performance assessments, communication and autonomy studies, human factors evaluations, and exploration medical capability assessments and operations.

HERA is cylindrical with a vertical axis that connects to a simulated airlock and hygiene module placed at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).

HERA facility capabilities include a network that allows electronic research data and voice to be exchanged between the crew and ground controllers in Building 220. Remote investigators can securely access the research data in real-time or near real-time through the JSC Telescience Center.

To provide a space mission experience, HERA includes a surveillance video and audio system, a flight-like timeline, and a procedure viewer.

Presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) for its monthly presentation on May 27 on The Thought Leader Series installment, five former HERA mission members described what it's like to be a part of this critical piece of research. They were Chris Matty and Ron Franco from HERA 10, as did Carrie Harris, Daniel Monlux, and Osama Alian, three of the four crew members from the most recent analog, Campaign 5.

The presentation is available on https://spacecenter.org/event/thought-leader-series/ as well as on their YouTube channel.

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