Lassiter High School, Marietta, Georgia, United States
This paper explores the psychological effects of space exploration and missions on astronauts. Despite the crucial role of psychological well-being in mission success, historical evidence suggests that the psychological needs of astronauts were often overlooked due to mission priorities and the desire to maintain a positive public image. However, the extreme environment of space, characterised by isolation, reduced sleep quality, radiation exposure, and altered gravity, poses significant challenges to astronauts' mental health. However, post-traumatic growth emerges as a potentially positive outcome for astronauts who successfully cope with the challenges of space exploration. As future missions, including potential trips to Mars, present even greater challenges, it is essential to develop effective strategies to address and mitigate these risks. Failure to do so not only jeopardises the well-being of astronauts but also compromises mission success. Therefore, a serious consideration of the psychological risks and benefits is crucial when making decisions regarding the involvement of astronauts in space exploration endeavours.