Going stir crazy? Then train like an astronaut, mimic space

Published 6:50 am Saturday, March 21, 2020

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Isolated at home? Then train like an astronaut.

That’s the inspirational advice from a public engagement specialist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Astronaut wannabe Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman said Friday that isolation is a lot like astronaut training. So she came up with this positive message and launched it via Facebook on Thursday:

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“Attitude is everything: I’m on an adventure in a confined space with a small crew for a long duration mission, with occasional space walks and resupply missions. Sounds like astronaut training to me.”

Zimmerman-Brachman, a longtime JPL employee with degrees in physics and space studies, said she’s wanted to be an astronaut since childhood. She’s applied four times through NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. (She has dual citizenship.)

She immediately thought of friends who have lived in simulated Martian habitats and taken part in other long-duration isolation studies, once the coronavirus outbreak hit the U.S. and space program employees like herself were urged to work from home.

Her 14-year-old son is home, too, in Sherman Oaks, California, dealing with schoolwork.

JPL is working up a list of space-related educational activities that youngsters can do while home.

“Life is a combination of what happens to you and what you do about it. We’re going to be at home for a while, so we may as well make the best of it,” she wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

“I hope other people will be inspired to have a positive attitude during this challenging time, and find a way to find silver linings in the current situation,” she added.

“We’re all in this together.”