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No excuse for astronaut behavior

February 12, 2007

Re "What makes an astronaut crack?" Opinion, Feb. 9

I am surprised and insulted by the tone of Homer Hickam's piece. Although I appreciate Hickam's "inside" point of view, I can't help but feel that he is suggesting we excuse Lisa Marie Nowak's behavior because she is a victim of "tremendous and unnecessary pressures" in her role as astronaut.

The rigors of the job require that astronauts be able to handle terrific pressure under extreme circumstances. Not everyone is cut out to be an astronaut. Additionally, many people work in high-stress jobs and lead high-stress lives, but that does not earn them a get-out-of-jail-free ticket and excuse felonious behavior.

Perhaps NASA needs to do a better job of psychologically testing its astronaut candidates before putting them in intense working conditions.

ELLEN BROWN

San Diego

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