Olav Krigolson, neuroscientist and associate director of UVic’s Centre for Biomedical Research, in front of the HI-SEAS Analog Habitat in Hawaii on a previous trip. (File contributed/ Olav Krigolson)

Participants from UVic head out for NASA-sponsored Mars simulation

Neuroscience researchers hope to learn the effects of stress and fatigue on astronauts

Three University of Victoria associates are about to head out on a NASA-sponsored simulation of life on Mars.

Olav Krigolson, neuroscientist and associate director of UVic’s Centre for Biomedical Research, is co-leading a study that hopes to see brain-tracking technology to study the effects of mental stress on astronauts on long-term space missions. To do so, Krigolson and his team have been using MUSE electroencephalography (EEG) brain wave tracking devices and created software along with developer, SUVA Technologies, to craft an easy, hand-held device to track what a brain is doing live.

The proposal prompted NASA to ask for a team of volunteers to test out the technology in a Mars simulation.

ALSO READ: B.C. students help design space colony in NASA-backed competition

Now Krigolson along his two PhD students, Chad Williams and Tom Ferguson, and professors from the University of Calgary, the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus and the University of Hawaii will spend one week in a simulated Mars habitat while wearing the technology.

The simulation starts on Dec. 1 at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mars Habitat. The small space is comprised of a modest white dome with a single shared living space, and limited privacy. Participants will need to pretend they are in space, and can therefore not leave the habitat unless they’re in a full space suit.

ALSO READ: NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon as first step in deep space exploration

“You can walk across the whole structure in about five or six seconds,” Krigolson said, recalling the last time he was in the base for a total of one day. This time, he and the rest of the team will be there for a week.

“I’m curious to see how our brains works in that environment and changes in a week,” he said. “I expect to see an increase in fatigue and stress.”

Chad Williams is a PhD student in neuroscience who has never been to the Mars Habitat before.

“I’m very excited because how often to you get to pretend you’re on Mars?” Williams said. “We do a lot of studies about how people interact… but I’m glad I’m doing it myself, especially if we want astronauts to use it. It’s valuable for us to know what they’re going through.”

Krigolson is confident that the technology will work, and prove to be a valuable resource for NASA. If all goes well, the technology will next be used in a one-year simulation before it heads out of orbit.

The recorded brain wave information will be streamed live throughout the simulation, and will be accessible at krigolsonlab.com.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

University of VictoriaUVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mysterious Brazilian honey barrel appears at Saanich intersection

Barrel spotted on West Saanich Road part of intersection construction project, district says

Sidney joins federal government in Reay Creek improvements

Coun. Chad Rintoul says contract to renovate Reay Creek dam makes him ‘nervous’

Lost dog reunited with family three months after going missing along Juan de Fuca trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of the Sooke rescuers

Improvements flowing to Sooke salmon hatchery

Sooke River Jack Brooks Hatchery hooks major funding

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Addition pending to Cape Scott Provincial Park?

BC Parks will wait before announcing plans for nearly $1 million old growth land purchase

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Central Vancouver Island’s Green Mountain fire under full control

Fire fighters still monitoring site between Cowichan Lake and Nanaimo River

5 B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Most Read