Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:30 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Factors and Behavioral Performance (HFBP)
Status: Open

Present State:
Past and Current ISS operations of up to 6-month spaceflight missions and available environmental characteristics (e.g., large habitable space, IP Phone, views of Earth) have enabled crewmembers to live in space without major behavioral health incidents. Conversely, future long duration missions (e.g., Mars) , will expose crewmembers to prolonged confinement and extreme environmental monotony of a mission of up to 30 months, five times the length of current ISS increments. This environment will result in increased autonomy and isolation from Earth which will impose a strain upon crews of historical significance.

Environmental psychology research has shown that humans have evolved to function best in Earth-like environments. There is significant disparity between Earth and vehicle/habitat environments. BHP Research has identified the potential environmental stressors in the long duration spaceflight environment (e.g., isolation, confinement, sensory deprivation) and the risks these stressors pose for psychological and behavioral health. Environmental psychology research, spaceflight analog research and anecdotal spaceflight evidence show that risks posed by environmental stressors can be mitigated by modifying the vehicle environment (e.g., introduction of novel stimuli, greenhouses, virtual reality).
Closure of this gap will enable us to make recommendations for modifying the habitat/ vehicle environment to best maintain and promote psychological and behavioral health among crewmembers.


BHP research will identify the environmental stressors on psychological health in long duration spaceflight and will identify and/or develop methods to assess effects of environmental modifications in the context of long duration habitation. BHP will solicit for studies to identify and validate methods to modify the spaceflight environment to mitigate the identified risks to behavioral health.

Target for Closure
(1) Identify and test a set of methods for modifying the habitat/vehicle environment to address environmental stressors and mitigate psychological and behavioral risk.
(2) Develop guidelines for implementation of these modifications based on available information related to exploration mission scenarios.

Risk Risk of Adverse Cognitive or Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
You are here! Gap BMed7: We need to identify and validate effective methods for modifying the habitat/vehicle environment to mitigate the negative psychological and behavioral effects of environmental stressors (e.g., isolation, confinement, reduced sensory stimulation) likely to be experienced in the long duration spaceflight environment.

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