Marc Shepanek, NASA psychologist in the Human Factors division, said the entire experience of space has had a huge mental effect on those who have journeyed into space.
"Visiting Mars and losing the earth is something we have had to talk about," Shepanek
said."Apollo saw a beautiful marble, and it had a profound affect on them.The vastness of space changes lives."Shepanek
compared a recent vacation to the South Pole to what astronauts on Mars may face.
"Everything around you is white because there are two miles of ice in every direction, but you are still on your world, but spending time in isolation is a better comparison, because it enforces relationships within the group," Shepanek
said."If the technology you have with you goes, you die.There is no regular communication with the home base."
However Shepanek said that the loss of air would not compare to anything he
"If I snag a piece of my protective suit in the South Pole, I am a little irritated," Shepanek
said."If I do it in space, depending on where I do it, I might be facing decompression.Imaging you have trouble breathing and there are 300 yards between you and an entry port, whether you want to or not, you are aware of how dependent in space you are on technology."
The mental side of space flight may come after the trip is over, Shepanek
"The rest of their lives are spent trying to convince themselves of the psychological impact," he