Every little kid’s dream is to become an astronaut when they grow up. At such a young age, soaring up to the stars seems like the greatest thing in the whole world. However, there are a lot of dangers when it comes to space travel, and a good amount of them are from the astronauts themselves. Imagine staying cooped up in a small rocket for months on end, or getting stuck in the ISS for years, with the same few people for company. Over time, it’d probably drive you mad.
Depression. It’s a serious issue on earth; despite the fact that being in space is pretty cool, it’s a problem there too. Whether on earth or in space, depression is pretty much the same. It’s the triggers that vary. In space, it could be a lot of different things. Boredom, cabin fever, isolation, or conflict with other crew members. Making a call to a therapist or a specialist who could help astronauts handle those kind of issues could be an issues, as astronauts in deep space would be much too far removed.
However, James Cartreine and colleagues, supported by The National Space Biomedical Research Institute, are developing self-directed modules to help astronauts treat themselves. Cartreine’s work focuses on treating negative behavioral issues and the risk of astronauts performing badly due to conflicts with their fellow crew members.
These modules are interactive programs, similar to a video game/3D graphic interface. The ‘patient’ goes through different interactive simulations based on the issue he/she is facing, and the module provides assistance and advice on how to deal with it. Unfortunately, this new technology doesn’t really solve the problem of boredom or irritation in space, but researchers are always looking to help astronauts cope with the issues of space travel, and it’s a good start!