Lost in space

What do you do with a psychotic astronaut? If you’re not sure, the Houston Chronicle notes that you can look it up in NASA’s manual for dealing with psychiatric emergencies in space.

Despite being surrounded by billions of dollars of high technology, the procedure is pragmatic and definitely low-tech:

The guidelines were developed to respond to an attempted suicide or severe anxiety, paranoia or hysteria aboard the international space station. Astronauts are instructed to bind the stricken flier’s wrists and ankles with duct tape, restrain the torso with bungee cords and administer strong tranquilizers.

There’s actually a project, named Human Interactions in Space, which specifically studies the psychological impact of space travel, headed up by psychiatrist Dr Nick Kansas.

There are further details of NASA’s policies for psychiatric emergencies in the Houston Chronicle article.

Link to story in Houston Chronicle.

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