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The Real World: In Space

  • Mongoose versus Cobra 1011 McGowen Street Houston, TX, 77002 United States (map)

The HERA project - Human Exploration Research Analogue, is a NASA project where volunteers are confined to a specially designed three-story habitat designed to study the effects of isolation and confinement in space exploration scenarios.

So basically like The Real World, but with Science.

Three of the lead HERA project researchers, and members of three different HERA missions will be telling us all about the habitat, its design and purpose, and how the missions work - even in the face of unexpected interruptions. Find out more about our speakers below!

HERA researchers


Patrice O. Yarbough, PhD is a senior scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center and a contractor to NASA’s Human Research Program. She is principal investigator for the confined isolation human subject studies performed in the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) habitat.


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Yvonne Parsons is an Experiment Support Scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center and a contractor to NASA’s Human Research Program. She is also the Screening and Recruiting Coordinator for the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA).

Lisa Spence is the Project Manager for the Human Research Program’s Flight Analogs project.  HERA is one of the key analogs used to host research investigations aimed at reducing risks to humans for exploration missions.  An engineer by training, her career has spanned space shuttle operations, Space Station development, EVA training, and human research.

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HERA mission participants


Andrzej Stewart is a Navigation flight controller in the Flight Dynamics division at the Johnson Space Center.  Prior to coming to JSC, Andrzej was a crewmember in a pair of NASA-sponsored space analog missions – the two-week-long HERA C2M2 asteroid mission simulation at the Johnson Space Center, and the year-long HI-SEAS IV Mars mission simulation on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawaii.

Paul Haugen earned his PhD from Rice University, where he studied cancer imaging and identification using a quantum cascade laser microscope.  Paul began his career at NASA in 2006 working on NASA’s fleet of T-38s, where he designed a new glass cockpit and an autopilot while also serving as an active flight crew member on the T-38 and the Shuttle Training Aircraft.  He spent some time working on Orion’s power and electrical system, and he now serves as the Operations Engineer for HERA, working on modifications to the facility and the operations of current and future campaigns.  He enjoys playing sports, volunteering at his church, and spending time with his wife and four children.

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Leah Honey has been a Flight Controller for the International Space Station for the past 10 years, and currently works in the In-Flight Maintenance group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.  Leah is originally from Washington, D.C., and has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  In Jan/Feb of 2016, Leah served as Mission Specialist 2 for the first of four 30-day HERA missions.

Earlier Event: January 17
2018 a Space Oddity
Later Event: April 23
Big Shots! Part Deux