Psychological and Human Factors in Long Duration Spaceflight
The spaceflight environment is characterized by temperature extremes, microgravity, solar and galactic cosmic radiation, lack of atmospheric pressure, and high-speed micrometeorites. While these factors induce a host of physiological, biomedical, and environmental stressors to flight crews, long duration spaceflight has revealed an additional group of stressors that impact crew performance and health. This paper will provide members of the medical community with a basic understanding of human-related stressors in the spaceflight environment, the effects of these stressors, and the role that the behavioral sciences (e.g., psychology, human factors, sociology, habitability) play in supporting crew health in space. Some of the current tools and methodologies used by behavioral scientists for countering spaceflight stressors and promoting crew health, productivity, and mission success will also be discussed.
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