At the outset of space exploration in the 1950’s, scientists were concerned about the psychological effects of leaving Earth on astronauts. Initially concerned with various psychoses and anxieties, they have been exceedingly begrudging in allowing the astronaut any sort of autonomy. The initial diagnosis for the state of mind of an astronaut’s realization of being in space was called the deadly rapture of space and space euphoria. While out on space walks, astronauts tended to ignore earth-bound commands. Now with plans for a journey to Mars in its early stages, concern for something new is being raised – called the Breakaway Effect or Earth-out-of-View Phenomenon. This theory postulates that, once free of any physical sense of this planet – most notably sight – humans might lose their connection to those left behind. In other words, the further away they get, the less likely they might care about the place they left behind. A future Martian? Or a Citizen of the Universe?
(*Information derived from Mary Roach’s “Packing for Mars”)