Nowak, in an official interview with NASA, posted before her first and only flight, said the training for a mission meant "a sacrifice for our own personal time and our families, and the people around us."
Dr. Jonathan Clark's wife, Laurel, one of the seven astronaut who died in the Columbia Shuttle accident in 2003, was in the same astronaut class as Nowak. "The family separation, and the pedestals astronauts are often put on have the potential to take someone as gifted and talented and fundamentally nice as Lisa Nowak and turn her into someone that is really not her," said Clark.
Clark, a NASA flight surgeon, said the stress is hard on astronaut marriages. "There has been a lot of marital infidelity in the astronaut corps [and] a huge number of divorces, even in these very educated and talented folks. But you have to wonder what stresses folks are under in that environment."
Ellen Ochoa, the director of flight crew operations for the Johnson Space Center, said, "We are going to be asking ourselves, is there more that we should be doing postflight?"
NASA has established a commission to see just what the agency should be doing to track the mental health of its astronaut corps. This month, the members are traveling to the Johnson Space Center to determine how the signs of trouble with Nowak were missed, and they'll report their findings to NASA administrator Michael Griffin in June.
At a coffee shop near the Johnson Space Center, as customers read the headlines "Bondage Photos," some wondered when the scandal would ever die down. Not anytime soon. Nowak's trial is scheduled for September.