Space: The Longest Goodbye

Independent Lens documentary on Monday follows NASA psychologists preparing astronauts for the extreme isolation of a three-year mission to Mars.

MONDAY, MAY 6 at 9:00PM

A riveting documentary investigating life-in-space psychology makes it's debut on INDEPENDENT LENS in conjunction with National Space Day. Space: The Longest Goodbye explores how the monumental task of keeping astronauts mentally stable in space is tested to the extreme in anticipation of NASA’s pending Mars mission and its required three-year absence from Earth.

Space: The Longest Goodbye follows NASA’s real-life attempts to prepare astronauts for a journey to Mars sometime in the next decade. NASA's goal to send astronauts to Mars would require a three-year absence from Earth, during which communication in real time would be impossible due to the immense distance. We meet the psychologists whose job is to keep astronauts mentally stable in outer space, as they are caught between their dream of reaching new frontiers and their basic human need to stay connected to home.

“Our initial idea was to create a kind of historical document about the first crewed mission to Mars, but documentaries have a way of telling the filmmakers where the story wants to go. And so, a chance meeting with Dr. Al Holland, a senior NASA psychologist who ultimately became one of the central subjects in the documentary, was a transformational moment for us. The moment when our space story became a personal human drama. While painted on the extraordinary canvas of the agency's preparations for the first crewed mission to Mars, our story is about one of the most terrestrial challenges imaginable: the never-ending tension so many of us experience between our desire to pursue our dreams, and our equally powerful need to
stay connected to our roots.”

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