Vitality

The Psychology of Space Travel: Would a Long Trip Drive You Mad?

If NASA chose you for a special mission to another solar system, how long would it take for you to succumb to space madness?

Having astronauts who will keep their cool is a concern, Jules Suzdaltsev reports for DNews. Being isolated for a long period of time, such as in the confined area of a spaceship, could lead to depression, among other issues. Suzdaltsev specifically refers to something called the “third-quarter phenomenon,” in which people crack under the pressure following the halfway point of their trip — after the excitement of their journey turns to boredom, they may become aggressive.

Read: 3 Signs of Social Anxiety

Although there are certain personality traits that may lend themselves well to space travel, such as independence, sensitivity to the feelings of others and being goal-oriented, it’s possible that “coping mechanisms people normally use back home may not transfer to space,” Suzdaltsev says.

Would your personality hold up during a long-term mission in space? Rocketman

When Russia, China and the European Space Agency sealed people in a habitat for 520 days, they encountered sleep issues such as deprivation and an irregular circadian rhythm, as well as depression, boredom and team cooperation problems.

See also:

How to Spot a Psychopath

The Psychology of Alien Abductions

Are You a Sociopath? Here’s How to Know

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