“Safe Passage to Mars” is a design challenge for undergraduate students. Enabling safe space exploration of Moon, Mars and beyond requires the application of the concepts of Engineering Psychology to design and build hardware (tools, devices, or equipment) which can mitigate critical human performance issues associated with long-duration spaceflight.

Engineering Psychology is the science of human behavior in the operation of systems. Traditional engineering focuses on laws of the physical world for developing products and systems. The engineering psychologist instead concentrates on ways to prevent human errors when humans interact with products and systems. Consequently, engineering psychologists are concerned with anything that affects the performance of system operators, whether hardware, software or liveware. They are involved in both, the study and application of principles of human factors design of equipment and operating procedures, and in the scientific selection and training of operators. The aims of the engineering psychologist are to achieve the best system usability for human operation, and the best human performance for system operations. Although the label of Engineering Psychology has been rarely used in the context of human space systems development, the activities of human-machine integration, human-factors design, selection and training of astronauts, and maintenance of physical and psychological fitness have been consistently pursued in an integrated fashion in space programs with the objective of ensuring maximum human performance and safety.

Inspired by the newly published IAASS book “Space Safety and Human Performance”, to win this competition, you will create a solution to what you feel is a critical issue affecting human performance on long duration spaceflight. Upon entering the competition (signing up online), you will be paired with an expert from a major space agency or a leading contractor company to mentor your team. Finalists will demonstrate their design to the judging panel of astronauts and human factors experts at the 10th IAASS Space Safety conference to take place May 15-17, 2019 at the Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles, CA.

The winning team will receive the opportunity of a once-in-a-lifetime spaceflight simulation experience at the TNO Desdemona simulator in The Netherlands. The Desdemona motion platform simulator combines a centrifuge design for G-loading with 5 additional degrees-of-freedom. It is the ideal simulator for motion critical training scenarios for human spaceflight.

More info on how to register for the “Safe Passage to Mars” design competition for undergraduate students at:


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