(FORBES) If anyone knows about how to deal with being far from family and friends, and working in close quarters, it’s astronauts. From the earliest space missions with capsules barely bigger than astronauts and their equipment to record-setting durations aboard the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts have pushed the physical, psychological, and emotional limits of spending time in space and conducting research there.
In the past few decades, NASA has become increasingly concerned with the toll of spending time on space missions. From extended ISS missions to the prospect of weeks- or months-long lunar or Mars missions – and even colonization –, there’s a lot to try and understand when it comes to sending humans into space for any length of time.
“Isolation and confinement is like being alone in a cramped space, and that feeling worsens over time,” says Bill Paloski, Ph.D., Director of NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP). “The longer and longer a person spends in that kind of environment, there is a potential for bigger and bigger problems.”
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