This book captures the official reports from the European Space Agency (ESA) study, Technologies and Techniques for Psychological Support of astronauts during exploration missions to the Moon and Mars. The study was commissioned by the ESA in 2005 even before the UK Space Agency was formed in 2010.
The need for the European Space Agency study of technologies and techniques for psychological support during long-duration exploration missions comes from a human desire for space exploration, which can be realised in the near future. This undertaking is honourable and exciting but is challenging even for the most mentally prepared and trained astronauts and cosmonauts. The crew will travel to where no human has been before, to farther parts of the solar system, and the crew will need to be dependent on each other and aware that they will be without any hope of rescue in case of an unforeseen mentally challenging or life-threatening event. Hence, the challenge extends to scientists and industry to devise techniques and technologies that can support and help the crew on exploration missions.
Long-duration exploration missions to the Moon or Mars will pose new critical psychological issues to space crews, compared to Low Earth Orbit flights. Most psychological support measures in use today are employed in-flight. Examples are regular private conferences with psychologists, regular conferences with family, resupplies, uplink of news, visiting crews etc. However due to communication delays and mission characteristics these measures will be possible only in a limited way.
Human space exploration is a test of human abilities, specifically, extending our knowledge and understanding of human capabilities and limitations. Therefore much more emphasis will have to be placed on support measures that reduce the risk of mission critical psychological problems. Space mission is also a test of technology and how this can provide efficient support throughout the duration of a long mission.
The book consists of three parts: • The first part describes psychological challenges, constraints, existing solutions and their applicability for Mars and Moon missions.
• The focus of the second part is a formulation of a global baseline concept for future psychological support.
• The third part of the book consolidates information in a global baseline concept for psychological support during exploratory missions with the recommendations and development plan.
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