Spacefaring: The Human Dimension

Spacefaring: The Human Dimension

Spacefaring: The Human Dimension

Spacefaring: The Human Dimension

Synopsis

The stars have always called us, but only for the past forty years or so have we been able to respond by traveling in space. This book explores the human side of spaceflight: why people are willing to brave danger and hardship to go into space; how human culture has shaped past and present missions; and the effects of space travel on health and well-being. A comprehensive and authoritative treatment of its subject, this book combines statistical studies, rich case histories, and gripping anecdotal detail as it investigates the phenomenon of humans in space--from the earliest spaceflights to the missions of tomorrow.

Drawing from a strong research base in the behavioral sciences, Harrison covers such topics as habitability, crew selection and training, coping with stress, group dynamics, accidents, and more. In addition to taking a close look at spacefarers themselves, "Spacefaring "reviews the broad organizational and political contexts that shape human progress toward the heavens. With theongoing construction of the International Space Station, the human journey to the stars continues, and this book will surely help guide the way.

Excerpt

Spacefaring is a partnership involving technology and people. This book looks at the human side of the partnership: why people are willing to brave danger and hardship to establish a human presence in space, how human behavior and culture have shaped past and present missions, and how they may shape future missions as well. Our journey begins with the earliest flights and looks forward to space tourism, space settlement, and interstellar travel, but the emphasis is on the next steps toward human occupation of space: the completion of the International Space Station, a return to the Moon, and the arrival of humans on Mars. In addition to taking a close look at spacefarers themselves—how they are selected, how they are trained, how they live and work, what they do on furlough and after retirement—I will also consider the broader organizational and political contexts that shape human progress toward the stars.

The book begins with the question of human motivation: why should people be interested in space in the first place? Space advocates point to the scientific and educational advantages of human space exploration. We are beckoned by an endless stream of scientific projects, including the prospects of conducting astronomy on the Moon and looking for signs of life on Mars. Space exploration is a focal point for engaging children in science and developing the intellectual and human resources so crucial for the success of the next generation. Space offers economic opportunity, through beaming inexpensive power to Earth, mining the asteroids, and otherwise taking advantage of the cheap materials and unusual environmental conditions that exist in space. Per-

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