(ORDO NEWS) — Future missions include long-term human stays on the Moon, and crewed flights to Mars are the long-term goal.
However, before human spaceflight, the psychological consequences of such missions need to be studied.
Unfortunately, the ISS cannot simulate all aspects of missions to the Moon or Mars, so scientists are conducting research in conditions that simulate space habitats to get an idea of their impact on the crew.
In a review article published in the journal Space: Science & Technology, the researchers reviewed experiments conducted during two separate 15-day missions at the LunAres research base.
The environment, completely isolated from the outside world, made it possible to study the effect of isolation on the crew and to conduct experiments related to the circadian rhythm in humans.
The study was conducted in a domed living area to which several modules were attached. The ARES-III and LEARN missions were conducted to LunAres in the summer of 2018.
The duration of each mission was 2 weeks. The missions were operated on lunar/martian time, so the crew did not synchronize with the mission control center (MCC), which continued to work on earth time.
The Mission Control Center was responsible for external mission coordination and daily communication with the crew, just like in real missions. ARES-III was a simulated Mars mission with a crew of six.
As in the real mission, the crew had a 20-minute delay in communicating with MCC. The main method of communication was text messages, and in some cases voice communication was used.
The LEARN mission was carried out by five people. Due to a communication delay between the Earth and the Moon of only 1.3 seconds, communication between the crew and the MCC was carried out using video and voice methods, as well as text messages.
The crews of both missions were forced to eat only freeze-dried food for the duration of the flight.
Experiments were carried out to study and monitor stress responses and cognitive functions during isolation.
Food intake, exercise, physical exams, daily reports, and several non-research activities also provided a rich dataset for future research.
During the ARES-III mission, scientists studied the effects of freeze-dried food on oral health, the impact of isolation on the ability to hear and the feeling of safety in an isolated environment.
The main goal of the study was to conduct neuropsychological research, as well as to study the influence of a low-resource environment on stress responses, group dynamics, circadian rhythm and cognitive abilities.
Much work has been done by scientists to answer questions about how isolation, limited space, busy schedules, crew members with their own social, cultural and emotional backgrounds can affect the mission and the health of astronauts.
Although direct answers to these questions have not been received, new, more detailed studies have been proposed to find a solution to these problems.
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