Sleeping During Long-Duration Spaceflight
Human travel from Earth to Mars would take 6 to 8 months.I've seen some work lately on sleep as a solution to long-duration space travel. The claims seem to be that astronauts will retain their knowledge, will require minimal entertainment, consume very little food, and will not require continued training of tasks, all if you can induce a controlled hibernation during space flight.
Although there are other physical downsides to this approach (muscle atrophy), I was more intrigued by the psychological effects this might induce. In particular, how disoriented would astronauts be when they wake up and time around them has passed? I imagine it similar to waking up in a room you are unfamiliar with, because you have been asleep so long and the room around you has changed.
When we blink, or close our eyes for a a second, we have an expectation of what we will see when we open our eyes. If things suddenly shift location in between blinks, we are taken aback. This change in location of items pre and post blinking can be either because (1) the object did in fact move very quickly in the split second while your eyes were closed, or (2) your eyes were closed longer than you thought they were. Many of us are too familiar with the "I'll just close my eyes for a second" only to wake up 2 hours later than expected.
To simulate this, I created an app in Processing. It places a video of you traveling through space. Whenever you press the space bar, the video goes black to simulate a blink, and jumps ahead a random amound of seconds. The idea I wanted to portray was this discomfort/shock that comes when you think your eyes have only been closed for a split second, but the rest of the world (or universe in this case) has passed you by.