Aerosp Med Hum Perform 2015 Jun;86(6):548-56
Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA.
Background: Future space exploration, such as a mission to Mars, will require space crews to live and work in extreme environments unlike those of previous space missions. Extreme conditions such as prolonged confinement, isolation, and expected communication time delays will require that crews have a higher level of interpersonal compatibility and be able to work autonomously, adapting to unforeseen challenges in order to ensure mission success. Team composition, or the configuration of member attributes, is an important consideration for maximizing crewmember well-being and team performance.
Methods: We conducted an extensive search to find articles about team composition in long-distance space exploration (LDSE)-analogue environments, including a search of databases, specific relevant journals, and by contacting authors who publish in the area.
Results: We review the team composition research conducted in analogue environments in terms of two paths through which team composition is likely to be related to LDSE mission success, namely by 1) affecting social integration, and 2) the team processes and emergent states related to team task completion.
Discussion: Suggestions for future research are summarized as: 1) the need to identify ways to foster unit-level social integration within diverse crews; 2) the missed opportunity to use team composition variables as a way to improve team processes, emergent states, and task completion; and 3) the importance of disentangling the effect of specific team composition variables to determine the traits (e.g., personality, values) that are associated with particular risks (e.g., subgrouping) to performance.