INTRODUCTION AND SITUATION
Few years back
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA) as well as other
programs such as Mars one and space x, started a space exploration crusade with
a purpose to expand the presence of humankind further into the solar system and
specifically on Mars. In NASA’s journey to Mars (2015), NASA argues that if a triumph,
this mission will a basis of an even deeper exploration. Since NASA’s objective
is not to attain a single destination, astronauts on Mars as well as their
explorer robots will strive to better comprehend the potential of life beyond
earth and to find a habitable place where humans can work, learn, operate, and prosper
afar from Earth within an enlarged scope of time.
some of the most
inventive and bright people of our era such as Buzz Aldrin, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Nye, and Neil de Grasse Tyson claim that
establishing a lasting colony of humans on Mars is not an option, that it is a
necessity. As the global population is not just growing, it is peaking and we
are constantly depleting our planet’s resource so, as
Hawking S. (2008) warns, if humanity is to perpetuate for more centuries to
come, we will have to go to an unexplored planet.
started several years ago where numerous scientists gathered to tackle this
problem and invested massive labor and intellectual efforts, not to mention
billions of dollars. In Space Shuttle Era Facts (2011) NASA states that it
has used 113.7 billion US dollars in the shuttle program alone. What a disaster
it would be if something were to ruin this; years of restless work, tireless
days and nights of taxpayers. Humankind left in peril. Amongst other
constraints that are likely to ruin this mission let’s highlight a
psychological one; Isolation of astronauts. Success demands deciphering this
issue, unraveling it, and understanding it from its very roots, as we are only
and only able to solve this problem by primarily understanding it.
is a state of being separated from other people. Admin L. (2012) states that Isolation can be
used and manipulated for various purposes. Medical facilities utilize it to
keep patients from transmitting or catching illnesses. Educational institutions
such as schools and parents apply it in the type of time-out or to penalize
misconduct. In correctional facilities such prisons and juvies, it means to detach
the incarcerated from others for the sake of safety or punishment. In
psychology, Isolation is adapted to depict a condition that pushes an
individual to draw away from other people especially the intimate ones and the
from social relations can also be a sign of mental health issues such as
depression. Humans are sociable beings that do not do well when isolated from
other people. While short-term isolation can serve as an effective punishment, extended
isolation, such as solitary confinement may result into serious mental health issues.
of isolation here on earth can be severe, it is likely to be more catastrophic
in space due to not only being isolated but also billions of miles away from
This essay aims to accentuate and analyze the isolation
problem in the space exploration crusade specifically, the journey to Mars and
to employ the essay’s findings to craft a suitable solution to this imminent
barricade to the exploration of Mars.
Humans live, work, and play in groups, and to be apart
from our groups may confuse us, debilitate us, and even make us doubt our place
in the world. Isolation is usually mistaken for other kinds of aloneness such
as loneliness and alienation, but being isolated demands that one be separated
from others by reasons past one’s control. Isolation produces destructive
impacts for several individuals. On the other hand, the condition can move
others toward incredible creativity and innovation as a result of having been pushed
to depend solely on themselves as a source of sense. Obviously, not all who
feel isolated are actually alone, and not all who are alone are isolated. In an
essay on isolation in literature, Conliffe M. (1999) points out that the
condition damages an individual having once been part of a group.
Humans, if genuinely isolated from others, major
psychological consequences may result. Storr A. (1988) noted that these
interactions need not be intimate or close ones, but that they must be there:
Whether or not they are enjoying close relationships, humans need a sense of
being part of a larger society than that comprised of a family. Kipling W.
(2007) asserts that the need to belong is basic and that the lack of
affiliation with others yields a host of negative psychological impacts such as
depression, anxiety, stress, and physical and mental illness. Being isolated
from others, Williams goes on to argue, can also alter other basic needs, such
as self-esteem, the need to feel in command of one’s life, and the need for a
Induced or not, Isolation can be as a window into which
our lives did not exist. When there is no one to notice us, talk to us, see us
or relate to us in any manner, it is as if we are non-existent, for there is no
one to spark our lively hood. James W. (1890), in his game-changing Principles
of Psychology says that there is not a more nefarious punishment, like imposing
physical pain, than cutting someone loose in a society in which they walk
unnoticed by everyone thereof to be isolated, or “cut dead” as James puts it,
is one of the most as cruel as vicious weapons humans holds against one another
and the foundation of our world’s most popular punitive action: incarceration.
When isolation is forced, its victims may experience extreme suffering and stress.
While isolation often results in effects that
dehumanize people, if attacked properly, positive changes may also occur from
extended isolation. Storr A. (1988) argues that the ability to be alone is a precious
tool when variations of one’s mental attitude are demanded.
Performing astronautic responsibilities, like operating highly
effective robotic emissaries in orbit and on the surface of Mars, enduring
Long-duration human missions, where some of the missions are up to 1,100 days
in microgravity, with the risks of bone loss, atrophy, trauma, neuro vestibular
issues, loss of clear vision, being capable to come up with ingenious
improvisations for the sake of fellow crew members safety, necessitates the
ability to think and behave in a more than normal and rational manner. The
sanity of astronauts is one of the most salient factors to the success of this
As stated before, the isolation issue has numerous negative
psychological impacts, those including depression, anxiety, stress, physical
and mental illnesses. Broadening the
mental illnesses issue, sometimes as a result of solitude, the brain starts to
create its own universe, or else known as hallucinations, where someone starts
to view and live scenarios that are not
happening at least not in reality but as it can be deduced if an astronaut is
living a fairy tale where for example she is still in the simulation program on
earth and hours maybe minutes ahead she gets to go home, join her family, have
a proper meal and sleep meanwhile back to actual reality the ship is landing,
it can only be imagined what follows. Aside from crew members’ lives, if
unresolved isolation can lead to the loss of several billions of dollars and
taking into account Stephen
Hawking’s and fellow
scientists’ arguments if not solved this problem could help terminate the human
SOLUTIONS AND EVALUATION
Though most psychological illnesses
are still not accurately understood, neither are they absolute mysteries.
Numerous approaches have been developed and found to be somehow effective.
Though it’s not yet adaptable to a vast range of psychological issues, the use
of drugs (pharmacotherapy) could be employed to help in some cases such as
anxiety and illusions and other derivatives of isolation such as stress and
Isolation is a result of detachment
from one’s society or community and routines. Well, another solution is to set up
a schedule to have face to face talks between the astronauts and their families
and friends that way they won’t feel really detached as they stayed in touch
and are continuously getting updates of what’s going on earth. In addition to
this, astronauts would be supplied with updated magazines and news, hence
feeling part of something bigger than themselves.
Besides medicines, communication
and, media, space exploration programs on earth could train large crews and
make sure that spend enough time together while in simulation programs. This would
aid develop a bond while still on earth and become friends in addition to this
add one or two professional and specialized psychologists on the crew.
Encourage the crew to stick to its routines such as yoga, reading, singing and
more. by applying this method, the crew members would feel safe and sound, as
they would be around people that they really know and are friends and in case there
is a crisis, the psychologists would come in handy. Moreover, the crew members
could start writing journals, which is an already verified method where astronauts on the International space
station(ISS) reported that they immensely benefited from recording in their journals,
as it helped them to stay focused on their work and interactions with others
and Stuster J. (2012) principal
investigator in his final report affirms this. It was apparent from the daily entries analyzed
that the environment on board the ISS was bearable, but also not enough to
sustain an admirable performance for long periods time of operations. Crews
admirably worked, and the journals contained numerous positive testimonies
about living and the working environment; however, the tone of some journals depicted
problems and demonstrated periods of irritation and chagrin.
Though the first solution might be
affordable and easy to employ it is very ineffective, where some issues do not
yet have drugs to handle them and besides members might be very deranged to
even remember or be able to take the drugs. Moreover, Putcha L.
(2009) claims that once in space drugs lose their potency due elevated levels
If applied this method could be
more effective because everything could still seem to be same where astronauts
could still talk to their families, watch movies and games and even check their
emails. Though effective, the second solution is superstitious and fictional as
according to Ormston T. (2012) states that it takes at least 13 minutes 48
seconds to transmit a signal between earth and Mars. In addition, several
things happen in the world, and not of them are not that pretty to see and
these horrific dreadful acts might boost the stress and depression themselves.
for the last option, which also happens to be my preferred solution, utilizes
very effective techniques such as creating an almost resembling environment in
space as it was on Earth. It also employs the very best technique currently
being applied on a global level to treat psychological disorders, which is psychotherapy
(having conversation sessions with a psychologist) and sometimes if required
they recommend some drugs. Moreover, it adopts the journal writing technique
which has already proven to be excellent not in simulations but in a real space
This essay aimed
to highlight and analyze the problem of isolation in the Mars exploration
program and to employ the findings of the essay to craft a suitable solution to
this imminent threat to the exploration of Mars.
thorough research and analysis, the following solution has been selected as the
preferred one. Providing an active environment where each member of the crew
gets to vigorously participate in addition to a sustained direct involvement of
professional psychologists as well as journal recording by the crew. This
solution is a long-term process so, it will require Persistence, investing
enormous effort and brilliantly attacking this problem as it is one the
stiffest pace limiting variables in the crusade of enlarging the presence of
humans into the solar system.
adoption of this method can lead to astronauts experiencing extraordinary creativity and innovation because of
having been pushed to depend exclusively on themselves as a source of sense.
Conliffe, M. (1999). Isolation and Russian Short
Fiction. Toronto: University of Toronto.
hawking, S. (2017, December 14). youtube.
Retrieved from youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FaTBd3gdPI
Lakshmi Putcha, P. (2017, December 12). Stability
of Pharmacotherapeutic. Retrieved from NASA:
Lite, A. (2012, August 20). Literary Isolation.
Retrieved from Literacle: https://literacle.com/literary-isolation/
NASA. (2015). NASA’s journey to Mars. NASA.
NASA. (2017, December 14). NASA. Retrieved
from NASA-space shuttle facts and statistics:
Ormston, T. (2012, August 05). The Time delay between Mars and Earth. Retrieved from Mars
Storr, A. (1988). Solitude. London: Free Press;
williams, J. (1890). the principles of psychology.
New York: New York: Holt.
Williams, K. D. (2007). Ostracism. New York:
Routledge; 1 edition.