A webinar on the future of work yesterday morning heard astronaut Major Tim Peake say that the most joyful aspect of being in space is the lack of email.
The astronaut was able to keep in touch with earth but could not receive email.
Major Peake said that resilience and a postive attitude are essential in space, as well as rigorous training for every possible situation.
He said in a spacecraft one must "embrace the darkness, embrace the claustrophobia", and accept that this is the new normal.
A new corps of astronauts will shortly be recruited by the Europeane Space Agency for missions to Mars which will take place by the 2030s, he said.
He also expects in his career lifetime to see six-month missions to the moon, as well as humans landing on the red planet.
Space missions are bound by money and politics, he continued, and need both political and financial stability.
A journey to Mars will take eight months, and astronauts will be exposed to both solar radiation and galactic cosmic rays.
Spacecraft will need both better shielding, as well as better propulsion techniques, he said.
He believes there will be plenty of volunteers for that first mission to Mars, but there is also a psychological challenge to prepare our crews for that mission.
Major Peake said he treasured working with a co-operative international team on the space mission and said this provided an incredibly rewarding work environment, that transcended political difficulties.
‘Defining the Future of Work: Planning for the Unplannable’ heard business leaders predict the eventual demise of email, at the webinar organised by e-signature technology firm DocuSign.
Mark Graham, global product director at food-delivery platform Deliveroo, agreed that text messaging, along with email, is a dying medium.
Businesses need to listen to their customers and remove friction, by moving to channels such as WhatsApp, or WeChat in China, he said.
SMS is also being used less and less, he continued.
The Deliveroo strategy with future restaurant partners in China is to move to whichever communication platforms are already in use, he said.
Lawyer Katherine Crowley of transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson said the pandemic has accelerated an already-evident move to flexible working practices and tech experimentation.
Humanity must no longer be a slave to technology, in the shape of hundreds of emails, she said.
The pandemic has empowered people to do things for themselves, with the use of technology, the webinar heard.
Agility, adaptability and collaboration were the key factors identified by the webinar in coping with the global pandemic.
But while tech is critical, human-to-human connection cannot be replaced, even if in a virtual world.
Lockdown has emphasised the importance of physical connection and the ability to look into another person’s eyes, Katherine Crowley said, adding that contact mediated through a camera lens is "psychologically dishonest".