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by Karen Pecota

USA | 2022 Director: Ido Mizrahy

With this documentary THE LONGEST GOODBYE filmmaker Ido Mizrahy brings attention to the world with NASA's endeavor to reach. The Mars program (including plans to journey to the Moon) that NASA is working on is complicated, detailed, and strategic with the preparation for future space explorations. Mizrahy's film deals with the concerns about how we as relational beings, will handle a long absence from our support network of family and friends that propel us to work effectively.

NASA's first astronauts in line to go to Mars are Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Matthias Maure and Kayla Barron. When the time comes this NASA team will first go to the Space Station for some time and then head off into "infinity and beyond" as Disney's Bud Lightyear would describe. All kidding aside, this is serious business NASA has entered into and not to be taken lightly. The maiden voyage space team to Mars will be absent from the world as they know it (family, friends, earth, etc.) for about three years.

Early astronauts have only experienced a short-term absence, so without question, the psychology of a long-term mission needs to be observed and scrutinized. NASA did put astronauts into a training simulator for a long exercise for the sake of observation. Unfortunately, complications arose, and NASA was forced to terminate the mission after seven days. The psychologists and scientists connected to the program were given a rare window into the effects of prolonged isolation from the daily journals the astronauts were asked to keep. The study revealed concerning aspects of their inner thoughts and feelings that could hinder their role as a viable mission crew member.

The doctors involved are working hard to figure out how best to prepare these explorers for the life-altering changes that would happen in a three-year period. How will they survive living and working in close quarters with colleagues? How will they fit back into society? How will they be received? How will they deal with being absent from family? No doubt each crew member on a Mars mission will make sacrifices. Once on the mission there is no turning back before completion. The team's mental and physical stability is crucial for a successful outcome on so many levels.

Mizrahy goes inside the NASA compound and shares incredible visuals, and a compelling narrative, on how best to protect our American explorers who are inclined to travel the universe, and their supportive network of relationships.