Operational Psychological Issues for Mars and other Exploration Missions
Long duration NASA-Mir program missions, and the planned International Space Station missions, have given impetus for NASA to implement an operational program of psychological preparation, monitoring, and support for its crews. For exploration missions measured in years, the importance of psychological issues increases exponentially beyond what is currently done. Psychologists' role should begin during the vehicle design and crew selection phases. Extensive preflight preparation must focus on individual and team adaptation, and leadership. Factors such as lack of resupply options and communication delays will alter in-flight monitoring and support capabilities, and require a more self-sufficient crew. Involvement in postflight recovery will also be necessry to ensure appropriate reintegration to the family and job.