All you have in outer space is personal space. Sounds kind of catchy, right?
Really it’s about the psychological strain put upon astronauts and others in the space program. It’s no wonder that in order to become an astronaut you must go through extreme physical and psychological testing. The very idea of finding out just how small you are in comparison with the rest of the universe is mind blowing. It seems like Buzz Aldrin went in to space and came back a totally different person. He kind of lost it, and he’s never been the same. Gordon Cooper, a pilot held in very high regard with the military who later became an astronaut, has numerous claims of UFOs. Could this be true? Or could the mental strain have prove too much for him during his time with the military? Last, but certainly not least, who could forget Lisa Nowak? You remember, the one who was in space and found out her husband was cheating on her. When the shuttle landed she immediately set out on a revenge drive to find her husband and his mistress.
Really, I think it’s because all you have in space is time. They’re up their doing tasks, looking out into the wild nothing, and thinking. It’s really like time is put on hold. It’s no wonder these people go kind of crazy. Psychological adaptability is key to surviving that kind of experience.
In the Travel to Mars project, subjects were confined to a small space for 500 days so scientist could study the growing tensions, withdrawal from reality, and the utter isolation from the outside world that astronauts would experience on a mission to Mars. This is one of the most extreme instances of psychological testing done on astronauts, but it taught to better screen would-be astronauts for latent psychological instabilities.
” [T]he long duration of a Mars mission, the great distance the crew will be from the vicinity of earth, the vastness and hostility of outer space, and man’s lack of knowledge about outer space are factors which make it unwise to extrapolate from our current experiences and predict that psychological and social stressors will not seriously affect the probability of mission success.” – Dr. Kanas, head of Travel to Mars project.
by, Sha Kandil