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Best practices in shift handover communication: Mars Exploration Rover surface operations  (2005)
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During its prime mission, Mars Exploration Rover (MER) had many shift handovers in its surface operations. Because of the increased rates of accidents and errors historically associated with shift handovers, MER Mission management paid close attention to shift handovers and, when possible, developed them in accordance with best handover practices.

We review the most important of these best practices, and include a generic "Checklist for Effective Handovers" to aid in the development of handovers.

We present charts that depict structured information transfer across shifts. These charts show personnel schedules, meetings attended, handovers, and hand-offs on both the MER and on the earlier Mars Pathfinder Mission (MPF). It is apparent from these charts that although the MER Mission had a much larger number of surface operations personnel than MPF (approximately 300 vs. 178), and had three shifts instead of two, that it used many of the successful MPF communication strategies. Charts such as these can be helpful to those designing complicated and unique mission surface operations.
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communication, Exploration Rover, Mars, practices, shift handover, surface operations
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Proceedings of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety Conference sponsored by ESA, NASA, and JAXA in Nice, France, 25-27 October
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Alonso Vera
Last Updated: August 15, 2019