Humans in Space: The Psychological Hurdles (Springer Praxis Books) - Nick Kanas

Ho hum. Good book marred by not hitting one audience strongly. The structure, style and loads of referencing were that of a solid academic article. The author said it was written for the general public. Ah, like me?


When I read popular science, I expect the book to do the hard work of bringing the science alive. In "Humans in Space" I felt that a really rich topic faded into reviewing studies into it - and some of the studies frankly felt lame. (Then again, maybe I'm grouchy -- it's like when I watch the news and see a report of some study that I wonder how on earth it ever got funding).


So much potential in what was written - the impact of isolation on crews, but also on families left behind, can be partly assessed by submariners' and polar expeditionary experiences; issues of psychological profiling to construct crews; different cultural responses and assessment of responses.


I was underwhelmed and frustrated by the book. I guess my expectations just didn't match. I wanted a sense of how astronauts (both those who've gone to space and those who trained but didn't make it off Earth) struggle with issues brought out by the unique venture. What I got was one person's recap of their professional research.


Bah. I'm grouchy this Monday morning. Someone send more coffee!