A review of astronaut mental health in manned missions: Potential interventions for cognitive and mental health challenges

Life Sci Space Res (Amst). 2021 Feb:28:26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.lssr.2020.12.002. Epub 2020 Dec 30.


Space is an isolated, confined environment for humans. These conditions can have numerous effects on astronaut mental health and safety. Psychological and social issues affect space crew due to the isolation, confinement, and prolonged separation from family and friends. This area of research is particularly crucial given the space sector's plans for Martian colonies and space tourism, as well as to aid astronauts when under high stress. Therefore, this paper reviews the effects of isolation/confinement on psychological and cognitive health; impact of radiation and microgravity on cognitive health; and implications of disturbances to the circadian rhythm and sleep in space. Possible solutions to relevant mentioned cognitive and mental health challenges are also discussed.

Keywords: Astronaut; Cognitive/mental challenges; Manned mission; Mental health; Psychology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Astronauts / psychology*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition / radiation effects
  • Extraterrestrial Environment
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Sleep
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Space Flight / psychology
  • Weightlessness / adverse effects