Psychology Of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research In Historical Perspective (NASA SP)

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9780160883583: Psychology Of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research In Historical Perspective (NASA SP)

Through essays on topics including survival in extreme environments and the multicultural dimensions of exploration, readers will gain an understanding of the psychological challenges that have faced the space program since its earliest days. An engaging read for those interested in space, history, and psychology alike, this is a highly relevant read as we stand poised on the edge of a new era of spaceflight. Each essay also explicitly addresses the history of the psychology of space exploration.

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About the Author:

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 Group on Interstellar Message Construction. Through his membership in the International Institute of Space Law, he examines policy issues related to interstellar communication. He is the editor of several forthcoming volumes, including Between Worlds: The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition (MIT Press), Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication (NASA History Series), and Rhetoric, Sex, Technology: Critical Perspectives on Ecofeminism(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.

Review:

Coalition for Space Exploration --September 24, 2011

Psychology of Space Exploration, Edited by Douglas Vakoch, NASA History Series SP-2011- 4411, Government Printing Office (GPO); (Hardcover) $27.00; (Paperback) $23.00; Washington, D.C.; 2011.

You’re going to find a rich, motherload of information here regarding a topic that is given little spotlight.

As the book notes, early missions into space were short jaunts, and crews were small, often drawn from a single nation. But 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 – far different than the “the right stuff” of early astronauts.

Vakoch has done a commendable job here, bringing together a wealth of observations, sectioned in bitable contents that tell the tale: Surviving and Thriving in Extreme Environments; Managing Interpersonal Conflict in Space; and Multicultural Dimensions of Space Exploration.

To say this book is a distinctive, often forgotten aspect of human space travel, is an understatement. As detailed, there is the right stuff of the early astronauts. But moving outward, hopefully on a routine basis beyond Earth orbit – back to...and beyond the Moon to more distant locales – well, that will invoke psychosocial stresses on expeditionary crews.

These challenges are wonderfully addressed in this book by a number of leading experts in the field.

But as explained in an introductory chapter, repeated references to psychology are one thing, but “understanding and managing human behavior in space is an interdisciplinary effort” – one that draws from architecture and design, engineering, biology, medicine, anthropology, sociology, communications, and organizational studies.

Thanks goes to Vakoch for his dedication to this field, and in bringing so many important contributions forward – in this book and elsewhere.

Check this book out – and for you fellow space travel wannabes – don’t leave home without it!

Note: Other commercial vendors such as Amazon.com are also expected to sell this book.

Also, go to the NASA ebooks connection at:

http://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/hist_psych_space_detail.html

By Leonard David

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