Specialist Node > Living and Working in Space

Space exploration has an enormous effect on human culture. Our researchers study various facets of the ‘human element’ in space, including space governance and law, communication, psychology, teamwork and emotions of space crew, as well as space-related arts.

Working and thriving in space

Human activities in space requires rethinking the ways we work and live, and developing effective working and living environments to maximise human performance and wellbeing in space.

Our research, coordinated by Dr Lies Notebaert, crosses and extends a range of social science disciplines including governance, law, policy, cultural studies, media and communications, architecture and design, ethics, management, psychology, and philosophy.

We focus on:

  • Governance of human activities in space (for space governance related to remote sensing, see here.)
  • Architecture and designed environments in space
  • Communications, media and public engagement with space
  • Moral and ethical dimensions of space and space travel
  • Research ethics and the regulation of space research
  • Mental health and resilience in space
  • Leadership in space
  • Optimising human work performance in space
  • Optimising the balance between task automation and human manual control in space

Teamwork in space

Teamwork is a key driver of space crews and mission control teams to successfully deal with the complexity and unpredictability of events that occur in every space mission.

Our research, led by Dr Ramón Rico, focuses in several areas relevant for space crews and mission control teams.

Firstly, by highlighting how team adaptation is a central process through which teams and multi-team systems (i.e., teams of teams) respond to unanticipated changes in extreme environments.

Secondly, when operating in dynamic and unpredictable contexts, the role of leadership in enabling team adaptation is crucial. For that reason, unraveling how team leaders adapt their leadership style to more accurately understand the situation and help the team to adapt to it, is a central topic of our research.

Finally, teams in space develop their activities by interacting with other teams and organisations to achieve their complex goals. For that reason, and because there is a lack of research focused on systems composed of such teams, we conduct research that improves our understanding of the coordination and motivational processes leading to performance in interdependent systems of teams.

Emotions in space

For most of human history our emotions about space have been embedded and embodied in our terrestrial experience. This node brings together historians of emotion, science and literature, archaeologists and linguists, with creative practitioners and performers to explore the history and future of emotions in space.

Our interdisciplinary group, led by Professor Yasmin Haskell, has interests in fiction, poetry, visual and performing arts, orbiting a core of research projects on emotions in space.

Areas for exploration include:

  • feelings and emotions;
  • space and poetry;
  • religion and space;
  • space archaeology; and
  • language and music in space.

ISC Living and Working in Space Team

  • Em. Prof. Van Ikin (science fiction writer and scholar)
  • A/Prof. Nicholas Bannan (musicologist)
  • Dr Vivienne Glance (writer and performer)
  • Prof Erika Techera
  • Dr Francesco De Toni
  • Dr Clare Mouat
  • Dr Laura Fruhen

Partners and Collaborators

  • Flinders University
  • University of Bologna