Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective

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9780160883583: Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective
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As we stand poised on the verge of a new era of spaceflight, we must rethink every element, including the human dimension. This book explores some of the contributions of psychology to yesterday’s great space race, today’s orbiter and International Space Station missions and tomorrow’s journeys beyond earth’s orbit. Early missions into space were typically brief, and crews were small, often drawn from a single nation. As an intensely competitive space race has given way to international cooperation over the decades, the challenges of communicating across cultural boundaries and dealing with interpersonal conflicts have become increasingly important, requiring different coping skills and sensibilities from “their right stuff” of early astronauts. As astronauts travel to asteroids or establish a permanent colony on the Moon, with the eventual goal of reaching Mars, the duration of expeditions will increase markedly, as will the psychosocial stresses. Away from their home planet for extended times, future space farers will need to be increasing self-sufficient while they simultaneously deal with the complexities of heterogeneous, multicultural crews. Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective provides an analysis of these and other challenges facing future space explorers while at the same time presenting new empirical research on topics ranging from simulation studies of commercial spaceflights to the psychological benefits of viewing Earth from space. In addition to examining contemporary psychological research, each essay also explicitly addresses the history of the psychology of space exploration. Leading contributors to the field place the latest theories and empirical findings in historical context by examining changes in space missions over the past half century, as well as reviewing developments in psychological science during the same period. The essays are innovative in their approaches and conclusions, providing novel insights for behavioral researchers and historians alike.

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Douglas A. Vakoch is a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, as well as the director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute. Dr. Vakoch is a licensed psychologist in the state of California, and his psychological research, clinical, and teaching interests include topics in psychotherapy, ecopsychology, and methodologies of psychological research. As a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics, Dr. Vakoch chairs that organization’s Study Groups on Interstellar Message Construction and Active SETI. Through his membership in the International Institute of Space Law, he examines policy issues related to inter-stellar communication. He is the editor of several forth-coming volumes, including Between Worlds: The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition (MIT Press); Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication (NASA History Series); and Ecofeminism and Rhetoric: Critical Perspectives on Sex, Technology, and Discourse (Berghahn Books). Dr. Vakoch serves as general editor of the book series Ecofeminist Theory and Practice, published by Berghahn Books, and he is a member of the editorial board of the journal Ecopsychology.Dr. Vakoch has chaired numerous workshops and conference sessions, including several symposia at recent annual conventions of the American Psychological Association on the psychology of space exploration and on environmental psychology. While completing his M.A. in history and philosophy of science at the University of Notre Dame, he focused on both the history of astronomy and the history of psychology. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a Quantitative Concentration from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. After finishing his predoctoral clinical internship in health psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospital and Clinics, Dr. Vakoch completed a National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University

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