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Space Science

Russian Mock Mars Mission 333

Posted by samzenpus
from the stir-crazy dept.
sdriver writes "CNN reports that Russia is attempting a 500-day mock Mars mission. The article goes on to say, "six volunteers will depend on a preset limit of supplies, including about 5 tons of food and oxygen and 3 tons of water." Also, "Experiment participation is not solely reserved for Russian volunteers, institute officials added."
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Russian Mock Mars Mission

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:19PM (#10518249)
    Mars comes to cosmonauts!

    (Sorry, I had to.)
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by bigjocker (113512) * on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:20PM (#10518256) Homepage
    Well, if the US mocked the moon landing, I suppose it's time for the russians for their share of airtime!!!
    • Re:Heh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:23PM (#10518292)
      When they are done mocking Mars, they can move on to the other minor gods, then move up to Jupiter and Saturn!

      Doesn't seem like a great idea, but at least they have a plan.
    • by Lokni (531043)
      At least the Russians are being honest about it though.
      • I've thought about this concept for a while.

        It seems likely that a significant fraction of a prolonged Mars mission would be spent inside a habitat building. That building would be functionally isolated from the outside. Also, simulating the trip there and back would also be valuable.

        I would like to suggest a mineshaft. Several parallel shafts could be used to monitor the progress of the team and provide emergency egress (exits).

        If the shaft were dug in a suitably solid rock, it could be sprayed with
        • I think this will have a better chance of success than Biodome. First, because of funding, second because we're not worried about total internalization/sealed-in-ness, just for extended periods (500 days for now, maybe longer later) - so we're not worried about, say, jettisoning waste, or not stocking a food supply of a certain type because, "it'll run out after 2 years anyway".
        • Food, other consumables, oxygen, water, yes, these are valid simulations. I'd also like to see what the options are for running a hydroponics lab to oxygenate the air and cleanse sewer waste, though not to eat necessarily since this would involve a fair amount of work.

          NASA ran a demonstration project called "Breadboard" starting back in '86. It's still active, I think. The goal of the project were to:

          1.) Develop a sealed environment plant growth capability (which is much harder than simple hydroponic f

        • by Christopher Thomas (11717) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:21AM (#10520755)
          Food, other consumables, oxygen, water, yes, these are valid simulations. I'd also like to see what the options are for running a hydroponics lab to oxygenate the air and cleanse sewer waste, though not to eat necessarily since this would involve a fair amount of work.

          I'd thought about the air and water recycling problem when running a different thought experiment (was planning what amounted to a single-person spacecraft with a 1-2 week nominal mission duration capacity).

          It turns out that if you're only going out for a couple of weeks, or if you have a significant mass budget, recycling isn't important at all. The mass of food consumed is surprisingly low, and we have plenty of experience keeping it light and compact (think "MRE"s; the military has a vested interest in food that keeps and is easy to transport). Oxygen consumed will at most be enough to burn that food - the part of that food that's not already oxidized (water-based). Water consumption is relatively low - a couple of litres per day for a comfortable allocation. So you have a few pounds of supplies used per day, and can easily store a year or more's supplies without the supplies outweighing the rest of your expedition's equipment.

          For recycling, air and water are the most important. Water because you go through a significant amount of it, but it's still fairly easy to recycle, and air because you go through a _lot_ of it (2-3 times the dry weight of your food). Both of these turn out to be easy to do if you have _power_. Brute force chemical processes and (for water) techniques like distillation come to the rescue. While 100% recycling of water is hard to do, even 80-90% would have a huge impact on your supply mass, and air recycling is very nearly perfect.

          A biologically based recycler has the advantage of being able to turn solid waste into food, but that's about its only advantage. System efficiency vs. energy in (light) is actually pretty poor, and it takes a lot of space and a lot of mass, even if you use something like algae that's near the bottom of the food chain and has low infrastructure requirements.

          Biological recyclers are useful when you can afford a large facility mass, and when you have a lot of people to feed. These are true on a large space station (think "colony") or planetary base (again think "colony"), but not for most spacecraft.

          Still very interesting to think through the options for.
  • "Capricorn One" anyone?
  • by GrAfFiT (802657) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:21PM (#10518269) Homepage
    ...it's ok for me !
  • ummm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:21PM (#10518270)

    six volunteers will depend on a preset limit of supplies, including about 5 tons of food and oxygen and 3 tons of water





    But how is that any different from regular russia?

    • no women.
    • Re:ummm... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Jesrad (716567) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:35PM (#10518416) Journal
      The bottled air is cleaner I hear.
    • Re:ummm... (Score:4, Funny)

      by DanteBlack (656808) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:43PM (#10518487)
      More food and water
    • and no lines for the food!
    • FAT ASTRONAUTS!! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spineboy (22918) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @09:11PM (#10519603) Journal
      One way to more effieciently store food for the journey is to have fat astronauts. A pound of fat contains about 3500 kcals of energy - roughly a day and a half energy supply for an average weight male. So a 75 pound overweight astronaut would have roughly 120 days of stored, packed on food - or 25% of the trips food requirements (About 2 tons!!!). It is a MUCH, more efficient way to store "food" weight for the journey.

      Yes this does appear to sound quite funny, but I think that this is very doable, without much of a health risk at all to the astronauts.

      • by Minna Kirai (624281)
        is to have fat astronauts.

        Better, really, to have small astronauts. No one more than 4 feet tall. They'll need less food to stay alive, a smaller habitat, and less air to heat.

        Could pick em short + fat, I guess...
      • by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @06:56AM (#10522209) Homepage Journal

        The only problem with this plan really, is that fat astronauts would have all sorts of health problems that would prevent them from being able to even set foot in the launching craft. You see, besides the fact that the food is such a small amount of the mass required (water + oxygen are the big ones, and being fat increases your dependency on these), you take say someone who's 75 pounds overweight, right? They launch under what, 5Gs or so? Say they're ideal weight is 150, so they weigh 225. During launch they'll weigh 1125 pounds until they hit orbit, at which time they'll be in free fall.

        Do you know any fat guy whose heart can take that sort of change? Furthermore, do you know of any fat guy who, after going through the training program so that they can take the normal amount of weight during launch, will still be fat?

        Or is this some sort of CowboyNeal joke? You know, send HIM to mars so we don't have to deal with his silly polls anymore?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:21PM (#10518273)
    This is the true story of six volunteers, picked to live inside a capsule and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start being real. The Real Mars.
    • Actually, this would make a good reality tv show, and maybe even gather public support for a mission...

      However, in space, I don't know how well being "voted off" would go over...
      • Oh, c'mon, that's not a problem. Instead of injecting them into space, you just eat them. That solves the problem of food in space. The last person to remain will use the penultimate player as a lifeboat once they land back on earth. It literally writes itself!

    • Naah... most of the reality shows center upon "who wins the prize, or how much they won" part -- as someone else said, there has to be a lot of "voting off" stuff to be there to be a reality hit.

      S
    • After a few days it would just degenerate into them sitting around in their underwear farting and scratching themselves all the time (what else is there for them to do with no women and no booze?) Actually in a way I guess that would be the most accurate reality show of all, since that is probably what the audience would be doing too.
    • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @10:55PM (#10520238) Journal
      And following the tradition of MTV 'Real World', the six choosen would be the following:
      1. A Chechnian Rebel
      2. A Hard Line Communist
      3. A 'liberal' reformer
      4. A Finn
      5. A Lithuanian
      6. A red army Soldier
  • by netsavior (627338) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:22PM (#10518277)
    oops I mean, no I didn't see that, nobody saw that movie
  • Good idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by s4m7 (519684) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:22PM (#10518281) Homepage

    better to find out now the likelihood of cosmonauts going nuts and killing each other when crammed in a tin for 500 days, than in the black depths of space.

  • Human survival (Score:5, Insightful)

    by usefool (798755) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:22PM (#10518285) Homepage
    Will this be a true test of human survial though?

    Since volunteers is allowed to quit the experiment if they develop a severe ailment or psychological stress, most likely they won't try hard enough to survive the journey.

    However in real life-and-death situation, people tend to do amazing things just to stay alive.
    • Re:Human survival (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phreakmonkey (548714) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:34PM (#10518403) Homepage
      Since volunteers is allowed to quit the experiment if they develop a severe ailment or psychological stress, most likely they won't try hard enough to survive the journey.

      I agree. Furthermore- the knowledge that you are "safe" if anything goes wrong will grossly affect your behavior. For instance, walk on a three inch wide beam that's resting on the ground. Most people can do it without even flinching. Now do the same thing suspended 20 feet above concrete.

      Since a lot of this experiement is to see how well the people cope with being in this environment with each other, I question some of the validity. I'm sure there is data that can be gathered, but I would imagine that most of that isn't long-term stuff. I'm betting that the further into the 500 day mission we get the less accurate the reflection of human behavior in that environment is going to be.

      Of course, if the whole idea is just to see how well the food, water, O2, &etc rationing works, then I stand corrected- but it seems that an extrapolation model based on a, oh, 150 day mission would be a little more reasonable. {shrug}

      -PM

      • Re:Human survival (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I agree. Furthermore- the knowledge that you are "safe" if anything goes wrong will grossly affect your behavior. For instance, walk on a three inch wide beam that's resting on the ground. Most people can do it without even flinching. Now do the same thing suspended 20 feet above concrete.
        I'm tired of hearing this argument. Try comparing one foot off the ground with twenty feet off the ground.
    • Re:Human survival (Score:4, Interesting)

      by metlin (258108) * on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:35PM (#10518410) Journal
      The funny thing is that the latest National Geographic's Adventure contained a question from a hiker who had asked if he could train himself to have less water. The question was answered by a seasoned Everest explorer who also happened to be a doctor.

      Apparently, it does not make any difference because your body releases certain chemicals under those stressful situations that helps you adapt, and there is no way you can artificially force your body to release those. He also mentioned that while you may try living on a colder condition to prepare for an Arctic exploration or try living in hot weather to prepare yourself for a desert situation, your body's physical needs (water, food, etc) cannot really be altered that much.

      Those are largely dependent on food habits you were raised on, your body mass and a lot of other things. Can't seem to find the article online, though.
    • Re:Human survival (Score:4, Insightful)

      by KitFox (712780) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:35PM (#10518415)
      That is very accurate. The end results won't be accurate. When you KNOW that you have an out, your psyche isn't affected nearly the same.

      It can also happen the opposite of what you indicate. You say that they may not try hard enough to survive, and thus will succumb to the stress more easily. It may also REDUCE the stress, knowing that if you ever decide that you want out, you can get out, so you take things more with a grain of salt. No panic of knowing that if something goes wrong, you're utterly doomed.

      The downside is that doing a true test would involve putting peoples' lives in danger. Or at the VERY least, having a single blind test, in which the people going into it are absolutely convinced that reality says that if something goes wrong, nobody can save them. (You can still go in and save them, but they must have NO way of knowing that you can or will.)

      • Re:Human survival (Score:3, Interesting)

        by usefool (798755)
        having a single blind test, in which the people going into it are absolutely convinced that reality says that if something goes wrong, nobody can save them.

        Ahhh.. that's actually possible, just send those volunteers in for a couple of days, then violently shake the facility, maybe some sparks and whatno, and inform them that the entrance's jammed tight, and "we are working on it" for the next 500 days :)
      • How about a double blind test where we don't know we can help them, either? That way there won'te be any subliminal, inadvertant tipoffs from researcher to subject.
    • However in real life-and-death situation, people tend to do amazing things just to stay alive.

      I agree, but I don't think a Mars mission should rely on such things. It would be more prudent to make sure that it is possible to survive without needing to really dig deep into those kind of psychological resources. Then, you know that you still have them as a backup in case things go really wrong in unexpected ways.
  • Heh ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Poietes (753035) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:23PM (#10518288)

    I read this as "Russian mocks Mars mission" and pictured Alexander Putin dancing around a table making fun a NASA scientist.

    "Oh yes, we land on Mars, yes, aren't we clever? I'm so clever with my MIT degree, I'm a clever little scientist. Those Americans think they're so smart with their advanced rocketry. It makes me so mad. Get me a vodka, Yuri."

    • by El (94934)
      Uh, isn't his name actually Vladimir Putin?
      • Re:Heh ... (Score:3, Funny)

        by metlin (258108) *
        Bah, once you unleash the power of the Awesome Russian Vodka (TM), Alexandar, Sasha, Dmitry, Vladimir are all one and the same.

        I mean, almost every other Russian guy I've known is either a Vladimir or a Dmitry or an Alexandar (Sasha). And boy, I know atleast 5 Russian women named Anastasia. Must be the Vodka, am sure.
      • He seems to have conflated Vladimir Putin and Alexander Pushkin.

        (Hey, they're both Russian, they all look the same from the USA right? Dead poet, live almost-dictator, can't be bothered with trivial distinctions.)

  • by magefile (776388) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:23PM (#10518293)
    That happened maybe five years ago. Don't know what the duration was, though. I'm pretty sure it was only a few months.

    They could probably fund this by doing a reality TV show, heh. And if you RTFA, they say that no women will be allowed to volunteer - so it'll probably be just like a /.'ers every day life: no women, stuck in a tiny room in front of a computer screen, food in granola bar form (Oblig. Simpsons: "if you put food in bar form, you unleash it's awesome power"), no social contact, etc.
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:24PM (#10518297)
    If you are not trampeled to death in the rush to volunteer for this.
  • Male only (Score:2, Insightful)

    by usefool (798755)
    Polyakov told Interfax reporters that the 500 Days experiment will not include female volunteers.

    Geezz I wonder why. And they'll probably get a similar result just by looking into any male-only student flat :)
    • Wouldn't sexual withdrawal present itself as an issue? It's a normal part of life - not for us nerds, though - and should be factored into the equation. Or hell, the men will resort to homosexuality. Problem solved. Disregard my post.

    • Minus the empty pizza boxes, but pretty much, yeah.
  • Other deprivations? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:28PM (#10518340) Homepage Journal
    In addition to the limited supplies of food, air, and water, I would think the experiment would want to mimic the other deprivations the crew might experience on the way to and from Mars. Most notably, I'd think, they'd want to emulate the lengthening communications lag between Mission Control and the "ship". Start with the sort of glitch experienced in orbit, and drag it out to the full 6-10 minutes.

    Also, you'd want to make the communication link have a realistic bandwidth. Whatever is the state of the art at "launch" is what they're stuck with for the duration of the trip.

    Now, if this were an episode of "Survivor: Mars", you'd throw in a monkey wrench... maybe a Galileo-style communications system error, where their phat pipe gets cut down to 300 baud, and the men fight over which supermodel pr0n picture to download each week.
    • by EinarH (583836)
      Some keywords on stuff that can seriously fuck up ones mood; artificiall light, constantly flashing/blinking light, random blackouts, rationed power, damaged food, long and boring repairs in the scheduled sleeping time and loss of even the most basic entertainment.
      And don't forget uncertainity like telling them halfway through the experiment that the government must cut the space budget and decided to start with the sallaries for the 500 days project.
      Random change in mission plans and procedures are also
  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:28PM (#10518341) Homepage
    make it 3 tons of Vodka and I'll go.

    • That reminds me of a joke. Three astronauts are going to spend 2 years on a space station, and are allowed to bring 120 pounds of personal cargo with them. The American astronaut brings his 115 pound wife, the Japaneese astronaught brings 119 pounds of math and physics textbooks, and the russian astronaut brings 120 pounds of fine cuban cigars. Two years later when they return, the american and his wife get out of the spaceship with their new baby daughter. The Japaneese astronaut gets off with a notebo
  • Why is it men only? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:35PM (#10518409)
    I recall reading sometime ago that US Navy studies for crewing submarines showed women coped much better will prolonged living in confined quarters than men do and an all female submarine crew would probably have higher moral than an all male crew.
    • It's the woman helping woman thing, trust me. You know? When they have that time of the month and stuff, it's easier for a woman to "emphathise" and provide certain types of support, that you know, we all see in those nice reality shows.

      Right, boys?
    • Could it be? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MacFury (659201)
      Gee, I know what would be clouding my thoughts every minute if I were stuck in a confined space for prolonged periods of time without any women around...

      I don't think women are as...driven...

      And no jokes about me not getting any. I have a gf :-)

    • It'll also make for happier participants.

    • by Raindance (680694) *
      There is quite a difference between a study showing that women coped much better in living in confined quarters for a prolonged period of time, and your assertion that "an all female submarine crew would probably have higher moral than an all male crew."

      I don't have the foggiest whether women or men would work better in this, personally, but I'd like to make the point that better individual psychological reactions to confined quarters don't strongly imply better homogeneous group reactions to confined quar
    • by ctime (755868) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @06:53PM (#10518581)
      In related news, an all female crew with the sole addition of one male counter part resulted in the highest rated moral ever encountered by the Armed Forces. I, for one, welcome our all female crew ovarylords.
      • What you are insinuating will occur between the mixed-sex crewmates is hardly high morals ... however, the morale of the crew would be quite high.
      • by Ablar (26065) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @07:22PM (#10518812)
        In related news, an all female crew with the sole addition of one male counter part resulted in the highest rated moral ever encountered by the Armed Forces. I, for one, welcome our all female crew ovarylords.

        Just wait until the womens' cycles synch up, they all have PMS at once, and the poor guy has nowhere to run...

    • In Australia, I heard that when two women were first included in a submarine tour, they were at each other's throats. They now put more than two on one sub (more like six because the bed compartments are in groups of six)
      • They covered something like that in Crichton's book Sphere - that groups of 3 are inherently unstable, 'cuz someone's always left out of the alliances. That's actually true, not just something he made up.
    • by sielwolf (246764) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @07:42PM (#10518935) Homepage Journal
      This was a popular research result (so much that Crichton borrowed it in Sphere). The problem: much of the evidence was ancedotal. The teams were asked their opinions. The men were blunt about their situation, the women put up a unified front. When later tests were done on performance it turned out that the men, though overt in their bickering, worked just as well as women.

      There is a parallel in Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes (the basis of much of Tina Fey's Mean Girls): most of the research into [junior]+ high school bullying dealt with boys. Because the boys were open about it, more willing to make an issue of it. The girls, both victims and victimizers, concealed their activities, often in passive-aggressive ways (causing many sociologists to assume it wasn't there). Girls would bond into groups that, when asked, would uniformly reply with "best friends forever" to researchers. Observation noted that this was not the case. There were obvious social heirarchies (even among "friends") where the lower girls were humiliated, and nettled endlessly.

      Of course this all just showed that the sexes approaches to group dynamics were different, not better. Both have members who demonstrate all the sort of behaviors you don't want in a closed space (depression, group disruptive behavior, passive-aggressiveness, etc).
  • new members (Score:2, Interesting)

    by celeritas_2 (750289)
    Where do I sign up?
  • Russian space researchers will lock six men in a metal tube for more than a year in [...] The 500 Days experiment...

    That's closer to "one and a half years" than "more than a year".

    Is it so bad with the post-MTV generation that they can't cope with something happening in the future? *ducks*
  • Polyakov told Interfax reporters that the 500 Days experiment will not include female volunteers.

    That's probably for the best, as they are not equipped to handle childbirth, but that's gonna be one mighty lonely metal tube.

  • You'd have to be pretty dedicated to simply give up over a year of your life to live in a cramped environment with bad food, no privacy and not even get you cosmonaut wings at the end.

    According to the arictle, Valery Polyakov (Russian, of course) holds the current record for the longest continuous time in space with 438 days aboard the Mir. That's pretty darn close.
    • You'd have to be pretty dedicated to simply give up over a year of your life to live in a cramped environment with bad food, no privacy

      Then again, if you still live with your parents, there's not really a whole lot of difference.
  • I wasn't the first one who misread the headline, and thought the Russians were making fun of our Mars mission.

    Which really, they have a right to do. I mean, what is a year or so in a tiny capsule, with only a little bit of food stuck in the cold dark depths of space? How is that different from living in a utilitarian concrete 50s era apartment in Archangelsk?
  • The Russian space program has come a long way down from its threat to bury us with ICBMs, the first satellite and animals in space, and the "no problem" attitude of decades of the Mir space station. Now if they could just retool their "nested wooden dolls" technology...

    But maybe this is all a trick to distract us from their takeover of the rest of the solar system, while we're obsessed with landing on a planet that apparently was too hostile to life, if it ever existed there? They've got solar sails, and t
  • May I suggest Dubya, who wants to go to Mars anyway?
  • Man, I read the title all wrong. Why would Russia be mocking the mars missing? What's funny about it?
  • While it might be a nice stunt, I really feel like Zubrin's Mars Society [marssociety.org] is going about the whole mars station research thing in a much more realistic fashion.

    They have much shorter missions, but they also try a lot more things to see what works. What kinds of suits work, what tools work with the suits, what kind of mobity wrks best for exploration, what crew mixtures work best. Even what kinds of toilets work best! Those are the kind of nuts-and-bolts things you really need to know to maximize chance f
  • Does anybody else think this sounds kind of like a repeat of the Biosphere [bio2.com] experiments? Except with less living space and fewer windows...
  • Yes, that's right, Russian comedians will spend over 16 months shouting things such as:

    "Ha! Mars has such a wispy atmosphere!"

    "Lenin and Stalin could make a better Red planet than that... and they're dead!"

    "You call that an ice cap?"

    "You couldn't support life anymore even if your life depended on it!"

    "I wouldn't touch Mars with a 10-foot Pole!"

    "Martians drink American vodka!"

    "Even Afghanistan was nicer than Mars!"

  • Memories... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MachDelta (704883) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @07:21PM (#10518806)
    Ah man, this story brings back good memories for me.
    When I was about, oooh 14 years old or so, I went to a "Space and Science Camp" one summer. We did all sorts of crazy stuff related to space. My favorite was trying to design "crash modules" to protect an egg from a two story drop (that was hella fun).

    Anyways, one of the special activities we did was a mock Moon base mission. Basically we spent one day cutting black garbage bags open and duct taping them together into a series of domes and tunnels for our "base". It had two openings: one was a sealable flap (our "airlock") and the other was an open hole that they put a big fan in to inflate the entire structure (worked really well too). Oh and some small ventillation holes in each room. Anyways, the next day we went on our "mission", which was basically a dozen or more of us stuck inside this inflated garbage bag, in the middle of a gymnasium with the lights turned off. We were divided up into teams and everyone given certain tasks. I was a communications officer, which basically ment I got to sit there and communicate with "earth" (our supervisors) on an old macintosh. We were also responsible for general coordination of the base. Another team was our Medical branch. They had some generic tests/experiments to try while we were 'on the moon', in addition to being responsible for the health of the entire staff. Theirs was actually the only 'serious' mission, because they had to test everyone regularly for signs of CO2 poisioning while we were effectively trapped inside a plastic bag for six hours straight. We also had an exploration team that got to do "moonwalks", which was basically tying a rope around one guy, blindfolding him, and shoving him out into the gymnasium to see what he could find. They came in very important (more later). The only other team I remember was our "Engineering" team, who was responsible for maintaining the base's structure, armed with nothing but some spare garbage bags, some knives, and enough duct tape to wrap an army. They even got around to making a couple of small additions to the base. Those guys had lots of fun.

    The cool thing about our "mission" was, in addition to trying to complete the tasks given to us by Earth base, our supervisors fucked with us at every possible opportunity. They did shit like "solar activity disrupting communications" (disconnected our Mac from the LAN) so we were on our own for an hour. They walked around with knives and poked holes in the bags to keep the engineering team busy... VERY busy. When we were done, our base looked like someone had taken a piece of swiss cheese and put tape over all the holes. They were cruel. About 20 minutes after our engineering team completed a tunnel connecting medical to communications, I hear this slicing sound and feel air rushing past my face. I turn around, and the bastards had cut a three foot gap in the new tunnel! Engineering runs over and starts trying to tape it up, but its not gonna be airtight... so the creative bastards rip off their paper medical jumpsuits (we even had mission stickers, names, rank, etc on them) and use them to seal off the tunnel. Heh that was cool. Even cooler though, was when the "alien" got into our base through the same gap. One of the engineering guys opened up the tunnel to see about further repairs, and he finds the supervisors have slashed it (AGAIN!) and dumped a plastic turtle in the gap as an "alien". The whole base erupts in panic. Engineering shows up in force as they're the only ones with knives. Medical runs in and tries to start bossing people around because "this is a biological matter". It was hillarious. We eventually figured out (with Earth's help) that the alien was dead, and medical got the goahead to start an autopsy on it. Very cool.

    By far the most exciting event in the mission was our "catastrophic power failure". Everyone's working allong happilly... computers chirping, people talking, fans humming... and then no humming. People kind of looked around at eachother real slowly like "Uhh, wa
    • Damn, that sounds like fun. What's the upper age limit to attend? (I can't be the only one thinking that).
    • by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @08:27PM (#10519292) Homepage Journal
      I remember doing that too, way back in the mid 80s, but my experience was a little more intense.

      We actually got to go into the real shuttle to sit in the cockpit during an engine test. During the test, there was some "computer error" or something (I'm a little fuzzy on the details), which made it appear there was a malfunction, and the people at mission control had to actually launch us into space.

      I don't remember much about it, since I was a little kid and I've had a lot to drink since 1986, but there was something about a gay robot and having to tell this annoying kid to "use the force" in order to save everyone's life.

  • Mars Society (Score:3, Informative)

    by Keebler71 (520908) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @08:22PM (#10519252) Journal
    The Mars society has conducted similar research during these [marssociety.org] experiments [marssociety.org] although the Mars society research focuses less on duration and psycological effects and more on requirements analysis. (i.e. not can we survive, but what will it take to survive and accomplish useful science.
  • by ralphcringely (820823) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @08:26PM (#10519285) Journal
    "living your life is like riding a bicycle. its easier to keep your balance if you're going somewhere". I forget who said that. Voltaire? Erving Goffman? Fritz Perls? Anyway, it's true for countries too. I applaud Senor Putin. Set a goal. Get everyone to push for it.

    Is'nt that what Senor Kennedy did for us with the moon? I mean, why did we go there except to have a goal?
  • by siriuskase (679431) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @08:27PM (#10519288) Homepage Journal
    It's nice to see the Russians getting into the reality show thing.
  • by csoto (220540) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @08:32PM (#10519318)
    But be sure to check out Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy site [badastronomy.com] for fact-checks.
  • by zogger (617870) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @08:45PM (#10519425) Homepage Journal
    ...to what long duration voyage submariners go through. 500 days is a long time though, I don't think any totally submerged and all sealed up submarine voyage has lasted that long, I think something like 6 weeks is more normal.(could be wrong on that, any knowledgeable folks please correct me) I am sure there are tons of scientific studies already about the physiological and psychological impacts of long term close quarters living, where you can't just "get out" and all your existence is self contained, more or less. The subs though can make their own fresh water and O2, so that makes it easier in many ways. Also no weightlessness to contend with. But....similar.

    Hmm, sorta like jail, too, in a way.

  • OK... (Score:3, Funny)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Wednesday October 13, 2004 @09:49PM (#10519819)
    Who read this as "Russia mocks mars mission" ? I thought they were making fun of the US again.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright

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