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Psychology and space?

  1. Jan 12, 2017 #1
    Instead of derailing an existing thread I started this one. A lot of attention has gone into the tech side of space travel.

    What are the human implications if we use existing terrestrial society as a case study.

    How would violence be controlled.
    what if someone goes insane and needs to be restrained indefinitely.
    how do you stop petty jealousy that can spiral out of hand.
    How do you maintain sexual morality.
    How is individual performance enforced.
    etc, we have the "T" word now and every kind of conflict, is it just assumed these human things won't happen in space, is there a plan & protocols from mission planners?

    Just asking.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2017 #2
    I'm pretty sure there are. Not had a gun on it for worst case scenario, but I'm fairly certain they could easily sedate an astronaut.

    I know sex is expressly forbidden in space by governments. It has nothing to do with morality (what's immoral about sex,) it was practical. We simply don't know what would happen if a woman got pregnant in space. It certainly wouldn't grow right and they don't exactly have abortion clinic up there.

    They can't enforce anything, what are they going to do? You'll probably get in a lot of trouble once your down and you'll never be allowed back, but it's happened before. Astronauts were forbidden from bringing bread up there because of crumbs, but one of the Gemini 3 astronauts smuggled a sandwich up there, which disintegrated the second he bit into it.
  4. Jan 12, 2017 #3


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    My understanding is that there has been a lot of work into the human factors of extended space travel. To a large extent, you can control for a lot of the negative potential situations through selection of candidates, simulations and training. I remember in Chris Hadfield's Book he talked about simulating a situation where one of three astronauts died in the space station and they had to run through all aspects such as who took over what roles, and how they would contact family etc.

    And it's not like we don't already have decades of experience with people living on submarines, underwater for months at a time. I'm sure the US Navy has dealt with all kinds of negative human issues over the years and gotten quite good at it.

    You might want to look up:
    Year Long Mars Simulation
    Blog from the Simulation
  5. Jan 12, 2017 #4
    Well sex in space may be officially banned and taboo to discuss but apparently some take the idea seriously worthy of study;



    "a Canadian scientist taking part in a 136-day visit to a Mir simulation module was sexually assaulted by a cosmonaut while two of his colleagues, who had been drinking vodka during New Year celebrations, had a fist fight."
  6. Jan 16, 2017 #5

    Fervent Freyja

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    I agree more sex experiments should be done in space. I think it would be fascinating to watch, from a mechanical perspective. I don't see why it's so taboo if the astronauts are already romantic partners. Colleagues, though, I can see why that is a bad idea. But you never know, it could have already been studied and we just don't know about it...
  7. Jan 16, 2017 #6
    I clicked on this thread because I thought "Psychology and Space" was going to be about what role our perception of space plays in physics. For example, we could compare our classical view of absolute space with the Machian view and its influence on relativity theory. :rolleyes:
  8. Jan 16, 2017 #7


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    The one-word answer to all of these issues is: professionalism.
  9. Jan 16, 2017 #8
    Professionalism comes with knowledge, experience, training, planning..we evidently have not studied these things enough to know what the possible issues are if we are looking at long term isolation in space travel/colonies.
  10. Jan 16, 2017 #9


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    Staff: Mentor

    Not much different from the first long term sea voyage. You expect people not to act like animals and act civilized. But space travel for large groups of people is way off in the future and not something we need to worry about right now. Thread closed.
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