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Patel, Neel V. “Space Psychology 101: How NASA Keeps Its Astronauts Sane.” Inverse, 6 Aug.


This article heavily covers the history of space psychology and the processes of the Behavioral
Health team in their study and use of aerospace psychiatry/psychology. Space psychology started with the
Russians because they started doing longer missions. When the US and Russia participated in the Shuttle-
Mir Program, introducing NASA astronauts to more extended missions, less leisure, and difficulty in
communicating, NASA began investing more research/resources into a mental health program. The
aerospace psych system helps choose astronaut candidates, helps astronauts prepare for missions, provides
counseling, and monitors astronauts for psychological symptoms present in those working in extreme
environments (difficulty sleeping, irritability, mood swings, feelings of discouragement, heightened
nervousness or anxiety). After astronauts return from space, the Behavioral Health team aids them in any
way they need to acclimate and plan for the future. In terms of Mars missions, where there is a
communication delay, there is a possibility of the utilization of Artificial Intelligence to monitor the
mental health of astronauts. The article concludes, highlighting the inconstant nature of space travel and
associated sciences.
The author, Neel Patel, is qualified to discuss space science because he is a science journalist, and
his contact information is easily found online. The article is mostly based off of recorded facts and an
interview with the NASA Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Psychiatry at JSC, Gary Beven. The
article was written in 2016 and it is doubtful that any of the information has been challenged since. The
author thoroughly evaluated patient treatment and history but could also have covered psychological
stimuli and possible treatments for the psychological hindrances that astronauts face. For example, the
author discusses an astronaut’s need for group living skills and communication skills could be expanded
to discuss the specific reasons for why the astronauts need those skills. The information contained in the
source can be verified elsewhere. For example, the author says that each astronaut video conferences with
a counselor, which can be corroborated by NASA on their website writing about astronauts’ ability to
video conference with their families once a week. The purpose of this article is to simplify the known
facts of space psychology and inform the audience. The audience is anyone interested in becoming an
astronaut or who knows an astronaut. The article is appropriate for this purpose and audience because it
takes into account the families of the space travelers and makes connections to other professions for