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Isolation tips from a former astronaut and retired US Air Force colonel

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While many of us are currently being asked to stay at home, we’ve turned to a former astronaut for his tips on coping during long periods of isolation.


A former space shuttle astronaut uses his experience in space to give tips on how best to cope during isolation. It comes as many NATO nations are asking people to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Greg Johnson is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force and former NASA astronaut. He was the pilot of STS-134, the final flight of space shuttle Endeavour and the penultimate flight of the Space Shuttle Program. He also flew F-15s alongside NATO Allies during operations in Iraq.

This video shows retired Colonel Greg Johnson giving tips on coping with isolation.


—SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) Colonel Greg Johnson, former space shuttle astronaut

“I’m Greg Johnson, retired Air Force colonel and former astronaut.

I’ve got a few ideas that helped in space and help us in our lockdown here on the Earth.”

“It might be a good idea for you to look at your situation, and it might be radically changed from your normal routine, and get together so that everybody knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play.
I recommend creating a distraction-free work zone so that you can be efficient when it’s time to work and then focus on fun when it’s time to do those things.”

“We had a little bit of conflict in space. We had a makeshift rock band, while some other guys were doing work and we actually were distracting them. We were not paying attention. I could tell they were a little upset with us about it but they got over it really quickly because there’s no need to escalate conflict. They just let it go and we went on with our jobs.”

“We are all in this together. I mean, this pandemic is a great example of how we are all interconnected on this planet, on this spaceship Earth. So it’s really important for us to stick together, to get through this, to follow the rules, to take care of each other and take care of our planet. I hope you found some of my ideas helpful in this video and I really hope that this lockdown ends very soon. Thank you.”
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Some footage courtesy of NASA. This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and radio use. It is restricted for use for other purposes.