with expertise related to the relevant evidence reports to analyze NASA’s evidence reports and engage in discussions with the committee at the workshop, focusing on the questions enumerated by NASA in the study task.
This report, which follows the format of the prior letter reports, includes the committee’s responses to each of the questions listed in its statement of task for each of the five evidence reports. Although no formal recommendations are included in this report, the committee’s observations are intended to help inform and improve NASA’s ongoing efforts to update the content of individual evidence reports.
The evidence reports reviewed in this National Academies report are part of a larger roadmap process developed and under implementation by NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP). The goals of the program are to investigate and mitigate “the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration” (NASA, 2017). As outlined in Figure 1, the evidence reports are the first part of the roadmap, which is followed by clarifying the risks, specifying the research gaps that exist in addressing those risks, implementing research tasks, and obtaining deliverables. These steps are then assessed to ascertain the progress that has been made in preventing or mitigating the specific risks to astronaut health. NASA updates its progress on risk reduction for a range of design reference missions—missions on the International Space Station (ISS) in low Earth orbit, lunar visits or habitation, deep space sorties, deep space journey or habitation, and planetary visits or habitation (e.g., Mars)—by identifying the extent to which there is evidence that the plans for that mission will comply with existing crew health standards or that countermeasures exist to control the risk (NASA, 2015).