Sundance Review | FOUR SUNS | "The Longest Goodbye"
The mechanical and technological pieces of a mission to Mars are overseen by various engineers in the documentary "The Longest Goodbye," but who determines the operational and emotional capabilities of the humans involved?
This doc is absolutely fascinating. Dr. Al Holland, a senior NASA psychologist, studies the effects of prolonged separation of individuals from Earth, by current studies on astronauts on extended missions at the space station. Whether they are awake the whole time or sleep induced and must wake and spring to action... there must be strategies.
And then of course there is the goodbye, and the hello. The challenges are not just for the astronaut but for everyone in their orbit (pun intended).
Interestingly, Dr. Holland, was also instrumental in managing the above and below ground interventions employed in 2010 during the Chilean Mining disaster when 33 miners were trapped under ground. With his knowledge of human behavior and psychological needs he developed methods to keep families above ground calm and miners below ground optimistic.
"The Longest Goodbye" may sound too scientific and boring but it is just the opposite; focusing on our needs as human beings and the importance of being connected.