Human Psychology in Space

While space exploration was once a field for engineers and physicists, psychologists are playing an ever bigger role. A new book reviews how the human psyche copes in space.

What's the Latest Development?

The new book Psychology of Space Exploration examines the latest research into how the human psyche reacts to space travel. Recent experiments are encouraging. One that simulated a close-quarters tourist trip on a two-day orbit of the Earth found individuals exchanging phone numbers and agreeing to meet later for a reunion. Another experiment concludes that simply viewing Earth from space is "good for one's well being". A free electronic copy of the book is available from N.A.S.A. 

What's the Big Idea?

Psychology of Space Exploration asks why the application of psychology to spaceflight has been "running 20 to 30 years behind most areas of medicine." The answer seems to lie in the culture of space agencies like N.A.S.A. which has placed all its emphasis on getting astronauts to and from space in good physical condition. But with the advance of technology and space tourism, more diverse groups of people will be looking to go to space for longer periods of time, making future psychological research imperative. 

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