Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learning to live on Mars: Fatigue management program for controlling space-age jetlag

Date:
September 28, 2012
Source:
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Summary:
The Martian day, which is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day, can cause havoc with the internal 24-hour body clock. However, researchers have developed and tested a fatigue management program which is successful at controlling this space-age jetlag.

Since the beginning of August, NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, has been roaming all over the distant planet learning as much as it can about the Martian terrain. The mission control team back on Earth has also learned what it may be like on Mars by trying to live and work on a Martian day, which is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day. This 'day' length causes havoc with the internal 24-hour body clock but researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have developed and tested a fatigue management program which is successful at controlling this space-age jetlag.

The results of the study will be published electronically on September 28, 2012 and will be published in the October print issue of SLEEP.

Mission controllers investigating the Martian landscape are required to communicate with the rover on Martian time. This unusual schedule poses a great challenge as our internal body clock has evolved to expect a 24-hour light-dark, not a 24.65 h 'day', making it difficult to sleep, wake and work. "Our study, which was conducted during the Phoenix Mars Lander mission, investigated the effectiveness of a pilot program to educate the mission personnel on how to reset their body clocks more quickly and how to improve their sleep, alertness and performance," explained Steven W. Lockley, PhD, neuroscientist at BWH, and senior investigator on this study.

The research team studied 19 scientific and technical personnel supporting the Phoenix Lander mission for more than 11 weeks. The participants were assessed using a sleep/work diary, continuous wrist actigraphy, and regular performance tests. A subset of the study participants were also given portable blue-light light boxes to place at their workstations to help reset their internal body clocks and improve their performance. The researchers found that most of the participants were able to synchronize to a Martian day schedule.

"While adapting the human sleep-wake and performance cycle to a 24.65 hour day is a substantial challenge, our study has provided the foundation to develop comprehensive fatigue management programs for future missions, which may eventually include manned missions to Mars," explained Laura Barger, PhD, an associate physiologist at BWH and principal investigator of the study. "Such a program could decrease the risk of fatigue-related mistakes during these high profile and expensive missions."

Researchers suggest that these findings may also prove helpful to other groups that work on unusual 'day-lengths' such as submariners who have traditionally lived on an 18-hour day.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Barger LK, Sullivan JP, Vincent A, Fielder E, McKenna L, Flynn-Evans EE, Gilliland K, Sipes W, Smith PH, Brainard GC, Lockley SW. Learning to live on a Martian Day: Fatigue countermeasures during the Phoenix Mars Lander Mission. Sleep, 2012 (in press)

Cite This Page:

Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Learning to live on Mars: Fatigue management program for controlling space-age jetlag." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928085635.htm>.
Brigham and Women's Hospital. (2012, September 28). Learning to live on Mars: Fatigue management program for controlling space-age jetlag. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928085635.htm
Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Learning to live on Mars: Fatigue management program for controlling space-age jetlag." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928085635.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins