aerospace

More Than A Robot: Designing for the Unique Advantages of Sending Humans to Mars

PAIGE PRITCHARD Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus), PhD NICK MURPHY Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus) SHILPA SARODE Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus) LOUI VONGPRACHANG Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus) NASA plans to send humans to Mars as early as the 2030s. Such a complex and expensive undertaking is justified by the fact that only humans have the unique set of abilities inherent to scientific exploration. A team of four graduate students from Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Human-Computer Interaction program took a user-centered design approach to identify breakdowns in current processes used in the practice and execution of extraplanetary exploration. Through a combination of secondary research, co-design, body storming, and ethnographic research including interviews and field studies, they found that current operational procedures constrain the human abilities of physical agility, adaptability, and perceptiveness. This effectively ignored the advantage of human agency over robotics. They used this insight to...

Integrating Organizational and Design Perspectives to Address Challenges of Renewal: A Case Study of NASA’s Post-shuttle Workforce Transition

JO AIKEN As organizations become increasingly complex and technology-dependent, likewise their challenges become increasingly complex and technology-driven. In the practice of organizational and design ethnography, the elements of organization and technology design overlap. However, a need remains for an explicit framework to deal with the complex challenges of innovation and change faced by contemporary organizations. This need is evident in a case study of NASA’s workforce transition as a result of the space shuttle’s retirement. NASA’s challenge is both organizational and technological – the end of the Space Shuttle Program left the agency without a clear replacement vehicle and the risk of losing an experienced, expert workforce. An integrated organizational and design approach could foster an environment of renewal by involving stakeholders at all levels of the agency and adopting a future-oriented approach to anticipating change....