Being in space is very much similar like a stressful dream and that constant stress must take a toll on astronauts over time who feel as if flying and falling at once, people scrutinizing every move, light being unnatural, tasks being inexplicably difficult and friends and family see from a distance.
The reason behind the bizarre stress of the space affecting astronauts aboard the International Space Station is being probed by the researchers with an eye toward reducing negative impact as much as possible. Two space flyers are undergoing five behavioral health investigations to examine cognitive performance, sleep, brain structure, emotion and fatigue over the course of the ongoing one year mission on the orbiting lab.
“Everything humans are doing in space is a life-sciences experiment, and everything is a psychological experiment,” John Charles, Associate Manager for International Science in Human Research Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, told Space.com. “It all feeds into the whole, and we’re interested in how the whole astronaut responds to the stresses of spaceflight, psychological and otherwise.”
No matter how long they are away from Earth, the spaceflight can take its toll on astronauts.
“Just being an astronaut is pretty stressful, because of the constant need to be able to perform at your highest possible potential,” Charles said. “You’re going to be doing high-priority, high-visibility tasks with experts on the ground watching your every move and critiquing you while you don’t feel very well, especially in the first few days or even weeks of spaceflight.”
On the other side, the set of investigators designed for the mission lasting 12 months, which started in March when NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko arrived at the orbiting lab for a nearly 1 year stay. It stresses particularly on the psychological and cognitive effects of long durations in space and the attendant isolation, fatigue, altered light-dark cycles and microgravity.