New Movie Asks Whether Astronauts Lose Touch With Reality After Going Into Space

The movie, starring Natalie Portman, comes amid the first allegations of a crime committed in space.

Do astronauts lose touch with reality after going into space? That's the question a new movie starring Natalie Portman is focusing on. 

"Lucy in the Sky" follows a female astronaut as she struggles to adjust back to life on Earth. The film, opening in September, is loosely based on the life of astronaut Lisa Nowak, who lashed out when her former lover, fellow astronaut Bill Oefelein, began dating another woman. 

Nowak drove some 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront Oefelein's new girlfriend, Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman. Nowak wore adult diapers on the ride to avoid taking bathroom breaks.

Nowak followed Shipman and eventually pepper-sprayed her. Shipman claimed that Nowak had stalked her for months, and police suggested she had planned the confrontation.

The astronaut later pleaded guilty to felony burglary of a car and misdemeanor battery.

Though Nowak's arrest caused a sensation, former astronaut Marsha Ivins attacked the new movie, saying, "The field of space psychology is well-developed. The notion of being detached from reality is simply not there."

The movie is attracting attention amid what are perhaps the first allegations of a crime committed in space. Accomplished astronaut Anne McClain is accused by her spouse, Summer Worden, of inappropriately accessing her bank account from a NASA-affiliated network while aboard the International Space Station, the New York Times reported. Worden has also accused McClain of identity theft. The agency's Office of the Inspector General is looking into Worden's claims, the paper reported.

McClain denied wrongdoing, writing on Twitter that "there's unequivocally no truth to these claims. We’ve been going through a painful, personal separation." Through her lawyer, McClain told the New York Times that while she did access the bank account, it was with Worden's knowledge and she was simply doing so to ensure there was enough money to pay bills and care for Worden's son.