International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES)
Planning for long duration exploration missions (LDEM) involves both the effectiveness of the extravehicular operations, in particular as it is related to the functioning and comfort of the space suits, and how the crew functions together in accomplishing the objectives of the mission. The University of North Dakota Department of Space Studies has developed a multi-modular Inflatable Lunar/Mars Analog Habitat (ILMAH) and is testing iterations of their NDX-2AT space suit. Five 12-14 day missions, each consisting of 3-4 individuals (Total 13; 11 men, two women) were carried out. Team members independently completed a Daily Rating Form (DRF) each day of the mission; the measure assessed space suit functioning during a simulated exploration EVA, psychological factors of mood, positive events and stressful situations experienced, and strategy/decision making processes. The EVAs proceeded in a smooth manner and ratings indicated that the space suit performed well in enabling the team members to carry out the simulated exploration tasks effectively. There were few incidents of tension or arguments with a teammate; ratings of mood state indicated that positive mood predominated over negative mood throughout the mission. Adaptive coping methods were reported as appropriate for the particular stressor experienced; problem-focused coping, for example, discussing task concerns with a teammate, emotion-focused coping methods, relaxation, meditation, humor; and meaning-focused coping, keeping the goal in sight. The specific behavioral and cognitive coping methods participants used to deal with the stressors experienced were highly effective in promoting optimal personal and team performance. Training in the use of particular coping strategies and the flexibility to use different coping methods depending on the specific stressors experienced appears helpful in preparing astronauts for the many demands and challenges of living and working together on LDEM. This training should also be helpful for dealing with the psychological recovery period following an EVA.
Gloria R. Leon, Travis Nelson, and Pablo De Leon. "Stress and Coping During Simulated EVAs and Habitat Living" (2021). Space Studies Faculty Publications. 8.