Astronauts manage stress to a superhuman degree

Astronauts have the ability to deal with massive amounts of stress, including spacewalks that often leave them bleeding.
By Tyler MacDonald | Mar 30, 2018
Astronauts are able to manage stress to a degree that seems superhuman, according to The Daily Beast. Between running across rooms, entering commands, waiting for prompts, troubleshooting obstacles using a communications relay that can break up, and finding crucial information in manuals, it's daunting.

It's easy to see what NASA only chose 12 people out of the 18,000 applicants from its recent call for astronauts.

So how do they do it? Are they born with the ability to handle this pressure? Or are they taught how to?

"I think of it as a combination of those things," said Jim Picano, NASA's senior operational psychologist.

He suggests that astronauts have an innate disposition to handle stress, as well as experiences that have shaped how they learn to deal with it.But he believes that training is just as important.

"The training that astronauts receive shapes their confidence in the procedures and equipment they have, to deal with spaceflight commands as well as emergencies," he said. "Rehearsing these over and over again, and learning how to respondI think that brings a sense of preparation that allows to them to believe they can influence and change their circumstances for the better."

And spacewalks, also known asextravehicular activity (EVA), are the perfect test.

"Spacewalks are painful by nature," said Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who spent 166 days in space across three different missions. "The suit is uncomfortable, resisting every motion. You typically come in from a spacewalk at least upbraided if not bleeding."

It seems that being an astronaut is a combination of learned experience and new learning.


We are dedicated to maintaining a respectful community that actively engages in lively discussions about news stories and blog posts. Please keep the following in mind when writing your comments.