Mary Sandy Headquarters, Washington, D.C. April 11, 1990 (Phone: 202/453-2754) Embargoed until 1 p.m. EDT Donald G.

James Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif. (Phone: 415/604-3935) RELEASE: 90-53 NASA DEDICATES HUMAN PERFORMANCE LAB AT AMES RESEARCH CENTER NASA today unveiled its latest research laboratory designed to answer fundamental questions about long-term human spaceflight and to expand our knowledge of human factors in the nation's increasingly crowded airspace system. The Human Performance Research Laboratory (HPRL) at NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif., is the first U.S. facility designed and built to study the human role in advanced aviation and prolonged space travel. Speaking at the dedication ceremonies, Ames Center Director Dale Compton said that the HPRL "will help scientists answer questions about the relationship between humans and complex machinery. Ambitious space goals, like a lunar outpost, a Mars expedition or the National Aero-Space Plane, depend on a better understanding of how humans will interact with machines in these missions." Among the specialized laboratories and test facilities to be included in the HPRL are those dedicated to development of virtual environment workstations, computational vision and advanced rotorcraft displays. The HPRL also will contain a unique design facility for the U.S. Army/NASA Aircrew-Aircraft Integration program.

Compton, together with special guests, also broke ground for the new $8.6 million, 59,000 sq. ft. Automation Sciences Research Facility (ASRF) in today's ceremonies. The ASRF, scheduled for completion in January 1992, will provide laboratories to conduct research and technology development in automation and artificial intelligence. - more -2Compton said, "the decision to locate the Automation Sciences Research Facility and Human Performance Research Laboratory in a single complex recognizes that artificial intelligence (AI) and human factors research complement each other. A productive relationship between humans and machines is critical in the aerospace program. Forging the ultimate relationship between people and computers depends on shared research between AI scientists and human factors experts." One question these laboratories will address is how humans will travel to Mars and return to Earth safely. Mars expeditions likely will depart from Space Station Freedom. Duringthe long trip to Mars, astronauts must rely more on automated systems to make critical launch and mission operations decisions. Complex mission objectives imposed by high technology projects like the National Aero-Space Plane, Space Station Freedom, a lunar outpost and Mars exploration require computer-controlled systems that complement highly-trained humans. Specialized facilities in the HPRL and ASRF will greatly enhance NASA's ability to develop and demonstrate computer science technologies in artificial intelligence needed to support the nation's aerospace endeavors.

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