Patterns in Crew-Initiated Photography of Earth from the ISS: Is Earth Observation a Salutogenic Experience?

  • Julie A. Robinson
  • Kelley J. Slack
  • Valerie Olson
  • Michael H. Trenchard
  • Kimberly J. Willis
  • Pamela J. Baskin
  • Jennifer E. Boyd
Chapter
Part of the Space Technology Library book series (SPTL, volume 29)

Abstract

To provide for crewmember well-being on future exploration missions, understanding coping strategies that International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers adopt to mitigate the inherent stress of long-duration confinement is important. A recent retrospective survey of flown astronauts found that the most commonly reported psychologically enriching aspects of spaceflight had to do with their perceptions of Earth. ISS crewmembers photograph Earth both volitionally and in response to requests from Crew Earth Observations (CEO) scientists. Automatically recorded data from the camera can be used to test hypotheses about factors correlated with self-initiated crewmember photography. The present study used these objective in-flight data to investigate the nature of voluntary photographic activity. We examined the distribution of photographs with respect to time, crew, and subject matter. We determined whether the frequency fluctuated in conjunction with major mission events such as vehicle dockings and extravehicular activities (EVAs, or spacewalks), relative to the norm for the relevant crew. We also examined the influence of geographic and temporal patterns on frequency of Earth photography activities. We tested the hypotheses that there would be peak photography intensity over locations of personal interest, as well as on weekends.

Of nearly 200,000 photographs taken on eight ISS expeditions, 84.5% were crew-initiated. Once a crewmember went to the window for a CEO request, he or she was more likely to take photographs for his or her own interest. Fewer self-initiated images were taken during and immediately preceding major station events. Crewmembers were more likely to take self-initiated images during periods when they had more free time. Analysis indicated some phasing in patterns of photography during the course of a mission, although it did not suggest that psychological functioning was lower during the third quarter of confinement (i.e., no third-quarter effect was found). Earth photography is a self-initiated positive activity of possible importance for salutogenesis (increase in well-being) of astronauts on long-duration missions. Scientific requests for photography through CEO play an important role in facilitating crew-initiated photography. Consideration should be given to developing substitute activities for crewmembers in future exploration missions where there will not be the opportunity to look at Earth, such as on long-duration transits to Mars.

References

  1. Apt, J., Wilkinson, J., Helfert, M.: Orbit: NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth. National Geographic Society, Washington, DC (1996)Google Scholar
  2. Ball, J.R., Evans, C.H., Jr. (eds.): Safe Passage: Astronaut Care for Exploration Missions. Committee on Creating a Vision for Space Medicine During Travel Beyond Earth Orbit, Board on Health Sciences Policy, National Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press, Washington, DC (2001)Google Scholar
  3. Bechtel, R.B., Berning, A.: The third-quarter phenomenon: do people experience discomfort after stress has passed? In: Harrison, A.A., Clearwater, Y.A., McKay, C.P. (eds.) From Antarctica to Outer Space: Life in Isolation and Confinement, pp. 261–266. Springer, New York (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Connors, M.M., Harrison, A.A., Akins, F.R.: Living Aloft: Human Requirements for Extended Spaceflight, NASA SP-483, Washington, DC (1985)Google Scholar
  5. Ethier, B.: John Glenn: First American to Orbit the Earth, American History (1997). Available at http://www.historynet.com/john-glenn-first-american-to-orbit-the-earth.htm. Accessed 13 Mar 2012
  6. Evans, C.A., Robinson, J.A., Tate-Brown, J., Thumm, T., Crespo-Richey, J., Baumann, D., Rhatigan, J.: International Space Station Science Research Accomplishments During the Assembly Years: An Analysis of Results from 2000–2008, pp. 110–159, NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA/TP-2009-213146–REVISION A, Houston (2009)Google Scholar
  7. Ihle, E.C., Ritsher, J.B., Kanas, N.: Positive psychological outcomes of spaceflight: an empirical study. Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 77, 93–101 (2006)Google Scholar
  8. Kanas, N., Weiss, D.S., Marmar, C.R.: Crew member interactions during a MIR space station simulation. Aviat. Space. Environ. Med. 67, 969–975 (1996)Google Scholar
  9. Kanas, N., Manzey, D.: Space Psychology and Psychiatry. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, The Netherlands (2003)Google Scholar
  10. Lowman Jr., P.D.: Landsat and Apollo: the forgotten legacy. Photogramm. Eng. Remote Sens. 65, 1143–1147 (1999)Google Scholar
  11. Lulla, K.P., Dessinov, L.V., Evans, C.A., Dickerson, P.W., Robinson, J.A.: Dynamic Earth Environments: Remote Sensing Observations from Shuttle–Mir Missions. John Wiley, New York (2000)Google Scholar
  12. NASA: Skylab Earth Resources Data Catalog, JSC-09016. Johnson Space Center, Houston (1974)Google Scholar
  13. NASA: Bioastronautics Roadmap: A Risk Reduction Strategy for Human Space Exploration, NASA Johnson Space Center SP-2004-6113, Houston (2005)Google Scholar
  14. NASA: Gateway to Astronaut photography of Earth Web site (2012), Available at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov. Accessed 13 Mar 2012
  15. NASA: The NASA Research and Utilization Plan for the International Space Station (ISS), A report to the committee on science of the United States house of representatives and the committee on commerce, science, and transportation of the United States Senate, NASA Headquarters, pp. 1–20, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC (2006)Google Scholar
  16. NASA: The Vision for Space Exploration, NASA NP-2004-01-334-HQ, Washington, DC (2004)Google Scholar
  17. Robinson, J.A., Evans, C.A.: Space station allows remote sensing of Earth to within six meters. Eos. Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 8(3), 185 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Robinson, J.A., Amsbury, D.L., Liddle, D.A., Evans, C.A.: Astronaut-acquired orbital photographs as digital data for remote sensing: spatial resolution. Int. J. Remote Sens. 23, 4403–4438 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sandal, G.M.: Coping in Antarctica: is it possible to generalize results across settings? Aviat. Space. Environ. Med. 71(9, Supplement), A37–A43 (2000)Google Scholar
  20. SAS: The GLIMMIX Procedure, SAS Institute Inc., Cary (2006), Available at http://support.sas.com/rnd/app/papers/glimmix.pdf. Accessed 13 Mar 2012
  21. Stuster, J.W., Bachelard, C., Suedfeld, P.: The relative importance of behavioral issues during long-duration ICE missions. Aviat. Space. Environ. Med. 71(9, Supplement), A17–A25 (2000)Google Scholar
  22. Suedfeld, P.: Applying positive psychology in the study of extreme environments. J. Hum. Perform. Extrem. Environ. 6, 21–25 (2001)Google Scholar
  23. Suedfeld, P., Weiszbeck, T.: The impact of outer space on inner space. Aviat. Space. Environ. Med. 75(7, Supplement), C6–C9 (2004)Google Scholar
  24. Sullivan, K.D.: An Astronaut’s view of earth, Update (newsletter of the National Geographic Society’s Geography Education Program) (Fall 1991) 1, 12–14, full article available at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/newsletter/uft/uft1.htm. Accessed 13 Mar 2012. Quoted passage available at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/newsletter/uft/uft2.htm. Accessed 13 Mar 2012
  25. Wilmarth, V.R., Kaltenbach, J.L., Lenoir, W.B. (eds.): Skylab Explores the Earth. NASA SP-380, Washington (1977)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie A. Robinson
    • 1
  • Kelley J. Slack
    • 2
  • Valerie Olson
    • 3
  • Michael H. Trenchard
    • 1
  • Kimberly J. Willis
    • 1
  • Pamela J. Baskin
    • 2
  • Jennifer E. Boyd
    • 4
  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Wyle LaboratoriesHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA
  4. 4.San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical CenterUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations