A Study of Voice Production Characteristics of Astronaut Speech During Apollo 11 for Speaker Modeling in Space
Hansen, John H. L.
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Human physiology has evolved to accommodate environmental conditions, including temperature, pressure, and air chemistry unique to Earth. However, the environment in space varies significantly compared to that on Earth and, therefore, variability is expected in astronauts' speech production mechanism. In this study, the variations of astronaut voice characteristics during the NASA Apollo 11 mission are analyzed. Specifically, acoustical features such as fundamental frequency and phoneme formant structure that are closely related to the speech production system are studied. For a further understanding of astronauts' vocal tract spectrum variation in space, a maximum likelihood frequency warping based analysis is proposed to detect the vocal tract spectrum displacement during space conditions. The results from fundamental frequency, formant structure, as well as vocal spectrum displacement indicate that astronauts change their speech production mechanism when in space. Moreover, the experimental results for astronaut voice identification tasks indicate that current speaker recognition solutions are highly vulnerable to astronaut voice production variations in space conditions. Future recommendations from this study suggest that successful applications of speaker recognition during extended space missions require robust speaker modeling techniques that could effectively adapt to voice production variation caused by diverse space conditions.
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