SpaceCHI 2.0

Advancing Human-Computer  Interaction for Space Exploration

A Workshop at ACM CHI 2022 / Hybrid Workshop on May 1, 2022 | 9 am CDT time
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center room 295-296

Space travel and becoming an interplanetary species have always been part of humanity’s greatest imaginings. Research in space exploration helps us advance our knowledge in the fundamental sciences, and challenges us to design new technologies and to create new industries for space, all while prompting us to answer the most fundamental questions about our place in the Universe. However, keeping a human healthy, happy and productive in space is one of the most challenging aspects of current space programs. Our biological body, which evolved in the Earth’s specific environment, is not designed to survive by itself in extreme conditions such as high radiation or low gravity (among other threats). Therefore, researchers have been developing different types of human-computer interfacing systems (HCI), which support a human body’s physical and mental performance in space. 

These Space HCI projects range from exoskeletons for supporting humans in low-gravity, to virtual and augmented reality systems for interplanetary exploration, and even zero-gravity musical interfaces for entertainment during the space mission. With advancements in aerospace engineering and the democratized access to space through aerospace tech companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, space research is becoming more plausible and accessible. The dropping costs of space launches and cubesats enables new interdisciplinary research in art, design, science, and engineering in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and beyond. What was once an exclusive, expensive, and narrowly serious pursuit is now evolving to include a vast array of possibilities. Thus, there is now an exciting opportunity for researchers in HCI to contribute to the great endeavor of space exploration by designing new types of interactive systems and computer interfaces which can support human living in space and beyond.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Alonso H. Vera

Chief, Human Systems Integration Division, NASA Ames Research Center


Alonso Vera has been at NASA’s Ames Research Center for more than 12 years, starting as a researcher in the Human Factors Division. Since then he has held positions of increasing responsibility and leadership in research, project and line management both at Ames and in support of cross-center NASA programs. Most recently Vera served as the deputy director (acting) of the Exploration Systems Directorate where he coordinated efforts across four technical divisions to advance the research and implementation of NASA technologies. In prior years, he has served in a variety of positions including chief of the Human Systems Integration Division; assistant chief of the Human Machine Interaction Branch, chief of the Constellation Data and Process Integration Office, and lead of the Human Computer Interaction Group. Vera has research and management experience 
in several disciplines including human performance modeling and human-computer interaction. He also has broad experience leading the development and deployment of mission software systems across NASA robotic and human space flight missions, including Mars Exploration Rovers, Phoenix Mars Lander, Mars Science Laboratory, Space Shuttle, International Space Station, Constellation and Exploration Systems. Vera received a Bachelor of Science from McGill University and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. He went on to a post-doctoral fellowship in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

About the Workshop

Our one-day workshop will consist of a keynote lecture, research presentations, lively discussion, and group brainstorming. We anticipate 15-25 participants. The workshop will be held online via Zoom. Accepted papers up to 4 pages long- will be hosted on our website prior to the workshop for participants and conference attendee to access. During the workshop, accepted authors will present their papers.

Following research presentations, small focus groups will be assigned to breakout sessions where they will design short user scenarios related to an HCI technology intervention or countermeasure. The topics could address the potential of an emerging technology solution in a spaceflight context, a particular form factor, or could be used as an opportunity to highlight a human-centered problem requiring further research. Groups will design a “day in the life” narrative showing a scenario of use for the technology, intervention, or countermeasure. Groups will be encouraged to storyboard interactions visually, or to act out the scenarios in a “skit” format. Successes, failures, and future potential of the narrative scenarios will be deliberated in the discussion.

Participants will also engage in an activity to work collaboratively and create a visual research map of CHI for space exploration in an online collaborative platform, “Miro”. During the group brainstorming, participants will use post-it notes on Miro to identify opportunities and produce road maps for how these trends may change the future. We will conclude with a reflective discussion on the future of space CHI and identifying directions for further collaboration.

Workshop Program



Time (CDT) Program
9:00am Welcome & Opening
9:30am Session 1: The Future of Space Mission
10:15am Short Break & Poster Session
10:30am Session 2: Augmented Astronaut
11:30am Session 3: Human Experiences in Space
12:00am  Lunch Break
1pm Keynote Presentation by Dr. Alonso H. Vera,
Division Chief of NASA Human Systems Integration Devision
2pm HCI challenges introduction
2:15pm Short Break & Virtual Poster Session
2:30pm Brainstorming
3:30pm Share back
4pm Closing & Next Step

Call for Participation

We invite researchers from both academia and industry to submit a short position paper in the theme discussed above. We will evaluate submissions on fit, ability to stimulate discussion, and contribution to the future of HCI. Our website includes examples of past work in this area to help inspire and inform position papers. Papers should be maximum of 4 pages, and should be submitted in the CHI format. The submission deadline is March 10, 2021.

At least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop and all participants must register for at least one day of the conference. We will host accepted papers on the workshop website for participants and others to review. Submission can be accessed through our website:

Suggested topics / areas:

  • On-body/Wearable Technology for Space Health
  • Human-Robot Interaction for Deep Space Mission
  • Interfaces for Human Expression in Space
  • Trust within Autonomous and Intelligent Systems
  • Cognitive load and Human Performance Issues
  • Computer-supported Cooperative Work
  • Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality
  • Smart Vehicle and Habitat
  • Digital Fabrication for Space Mission


  • Pat Pataranutaporn, MIT Media Lab
  • Valentina Sumini, MIT Media Lab
  • Melodie Yashar, San Jose State Research Foundation, NASA Ames
  • Susanna Testa, Politecnico di Milano
  • Marianna Obrist, University College London
  • Scott Davidoff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • Amber M. Paul, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, NASA ARC, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science 
  • Dorit Donoviel, Translational Research Institute for Space Health
  • Jimmy Wu, Translational Research Institute for Space Health
  • Sands Fish, MIT Media Lab
  • Ariel Ekblaw, MIT Media Lab
  • Martin Eric William Nisser, MIT CSAIL
  • Albrecht Schmidt, LMU Munich
  • Joseph Paradiso, MIT Media Lab
  • Pattie Maes, MIT Media Lab