Leaving Earth: Going Spatial

What would it mean to leave this planet?m16 image by travis rector.  correction layers added by mark hannaNot just in orbit or for a period of months, but somewhere far away to not return for years or not at all?

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said that the biggest challenge of a trip to Mars would be coping with the isolation. hadfield“Within a month or so you won’t be able to have a real-time conversation ever again with Earth, the delay will be so long…So that crew within weeks will become Martians psychologically. They will no longer be of Earth.”
Shuttle launch pilot“How do you keep your crew from going crazy?”
IMG_3120We define our sense of self through a context. What is the context of no longer being here?

Al Worden: Reflections in Lunar Orbit

While fellow astronauts of Apollo 15 explored the lunar surface, Al Worden piloted the command module. His solo journey in lunar orbit lasted three days.Apollo_15_CSM_Endeavour_during_rendezvous I didn’t feel lonely or isolated. I was much more comfortable flying by myself than with others. In fact, I most enjoyed the back side of the moon, where Houston couldn’t get hold of me on the radio. 3770132559_43e9b4aec0_oThe moon looked enormous from such a low orbit. I glimpsed tall central peaks of craters before I saw the surrounding low rims. With no atmosphere to soften the view, every crater and boulder was sharp and crisp. Timocaris_Cr-sharpenedMountains cast long slashes of blackness across the landscape, and features stood out as if I had placed a flashlight against a rough stucco wall. The moon was overwhelmingly majestic, yet stark and mostly devoid of color. Earth riseEvery orbit, however, I was treated to the sight of the distant Earth rising over the lunar landscape. (Pages 188-92, Al Worden, Falling to Earth.)