Travel to the Red Planet and back would take about a year and a half. Living on the Moon or Mars would involve extended stays under space conditions. In addition to questions of physical health, being in space poses entirely new sets of issues regarding the psychological effects of living in space on travellers. How does such an extended period of sensory deprivation affect the crew? How do they react to close quarters and limited social contact? Are they homesick, and does this impact their ability to work? How do they react to stress under extreme space conditions?
In many instances, these problems are comparable to or identical to those of people on Earth, of patients during long-term stays in bed, in rehabilitation or of highly skilled teams subjected to extreme stress or work in unusual conditions. :envihab’s psychology laboratory will allow for the study of human subjects under complex, yet standardised conditions that will take into account the subjects’ individual characteristics – both physiological and psychological – to answer important questions about what happens under extreme conditions.
In :envihab’s advanced psychology laboratory, test subjects will be isolated, immobilised and exposed to targeted stress situations. These test conditions will make it possible to determine, for example, how extended periods of space travel conditions affect crew members’ abilities to perform necessary tasks like shuttle docking. Studies will be conducted regarding the effect of extended trips on the relationships between crew members. In addition, physical and psychological methods for the prevention and rehabilitation on the effects of immobilisation, isolation and weightlessness will be examined.