First Hypatia I Scientific Paper: Carla Conejo reveals sleep-wake cycle findings in all-female crew on Martian analog mission

06/06/2024 | The scientific paper titled «Sleep–Wake Cycle in a Female Crew During an Earth-Based Martian Analog Mission», authored by Carla Conejo, Executive Officer and Biologist of the Hypatia I crew, marks the first publication arising from the research conducted during Crew 280’s mission at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), in the Utah desert (USA). Co-authored by Georgina Company, PhD, Aida Muñoz, MD, Ignacio Vicente, MD, Anna Núñez, MD, and Jorge Abad, MD, from Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, the paper was recently published in Archivos de Bronconeumología.

Earth-based analogue missions play a pivotal role in simulating space mission conditions, aiding astronaut preparation in controlled environments. Sleep management is crucial for astronauts due to its profound impact on health, performance, and safety during missions. Disrupted sleep can lead to various issues such as exhaustion, mood alterations, and impaired concentration, ultimately affecting mission success. However, there is a significant research gap, particularly concerning women’s representation in space missions.

The observational study conducted by Carla Conejo and the Hypatia I crew during a 2-week simulation mission at MDRS provides insights into the sleep patterns of a diverse all-female crew. The study, in collaboration with Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol and the support of Google, utilized Fitbit Sense 2 smartwatch monitoring technology to collect and analyze key sleep variables.

The study revealed significant differences in sleep quantity and quality between the simulation and baseline periods. Participants experienced shorter sleep duration, reduced wake time after sleep onset (WASO), and decreased rest time during the analogue mission. Despite these changes, the study found that participants adapted to a more efficient sleep pattern, maintaining normal sleep efficiency and WASO percentages. Notably, the study also observed reduced REM sleep during the simulation period, a factor that can impact alertness and performance.

The research sheds light on the complex interplay between sleep patterns, mission demands, and individual differences, particularly in female astronauts. The findings contribute to our understanding of sleep in simulated space conditions and highlight the need for tailored sleep management strategies in space missions.

For more detailed insights, the full paper can be accessed at: