How Space Travel Affects the Human Mind


The job of an astronaut is a hard one, both physically and mentally. The Verge recently shared a video that focuses on the psychological challenges space-goers face as their brains adjust to living aboard the International Space Station for months at a time. Recently returned NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was interviewed for the video, and he shares his own experiences as the person who's spent more days in space than any other American in history.

The Verge uses what science knows about space travel to theorize about the psychological challenges of a trip to Mars, a feat that has yet to be attempted outside of science fiction and one that would take several calendar years. In the video, Kelly speaks about his 340 days in space and how it changed him, and space psychiatrist Nick Kanas talks about things in space that can add stress to the brain, including microgravity, loss of visual contact with the Earth and all things familiar, and the realization that if certain things occur in space (like a toothache), there is nothing the astronauts can do about it.

As for his advice to future astronauts leaving for the moon, Kelly said, "I would suggest to them: pace yourselves."

[h/t The Verge]

Banner image: The Verge / YouTube

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