One of the most popular interviews of 2013 was our talk with astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. His poetic descriptions of life in space caused a lot of “driveway moments” for our listeners. Here he talks about claustrophobia in space:
"They don’t want claustrophobic astronauts, so NASA is careful through selection to try to see if you have a natural tendency to be afraid of small spaces or not. Really, it’s good if you’ve managed to find a way to deal with all of your fears, especially the irrational ones. So during selection in fact, they zip you inside a ball, and they don’t tell you how long they’re going to leave you in there. I think if you had tendencies toward claustrophobia then that would probably panic you and they would use that as a discriminator to decide whether they were going to hire you or not. For me, being zipped inside a small, dark place for an indeterminate amount of time was just a great opportunity and nice time to think and maybe have a little nap and relax, so it doesn’t bother me. But you can get claustrophobia and agoraphobia — a fear of wide open spaces — simultaneously on a spacewalk."
image via Forbes
*A “driveway moment” is when you’re listening to a radio program in your car and you can’t get out because you’re so engrossed.