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Mars Space Science

Volunteers Wanted For Simulated 520-Day Mars Trip 356

Posted by timothy
from the represent-slashdot-there dept.
anglico writes 'Starting in 2010, an international crew of six will simulate a 520-day round-trip to Mars, including a 30-day stay on the martian surface. In reality, they will live and work in a sealed facility in Moscow, Russia, to investigate the psychological and medical aspects of a long-duration space mission. ESA is looking for European volunteers to take part.'
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Volunteers Wanted For Simulated 520-Day Mars Trip

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  • Volunteers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hardihoot (1044510) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:31PM (#29826573)
    Okay, this might sound a little naive, but why can't they use people who have long prison sentences but are not severely criminal? The data gained concerning space travel could allow these people to contribute to society when otherwise they would just be rotting in a cell.
  • Re:Let them play WOW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:43PM (#29826757) Homepage

    Their astronaut selection process tends to weed out all but the most motivated adventurous go-getters who tend to go crazy when asked to do basically nothing for 6 months.

    Amen! As I understand it the first astronauts were test pilots, familiar with confined cockpits, long periods of total boredom, and incredible risk of a human roasting giant fireball. Why they ever went away from those men with way too much bravado, I'll never know.

  • Communications lag (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rolgar (556636) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:57PM (#29826949)

    I wonder if the monitoring the psychological effects of the experiment would include adding an increasing the amount of lag between when the isolated crew send a message to Mission Control, and when they get a response back. After all, instant response would make the crew feel like mission control were just a phone call away. Also, wouldn't the atmosphere of the environment be different, because you would always know you could be brought out if something went wrong. To run a real simulation, wouldn't the crew need to really think they were millions of miles away with no chance of rescue?

  • Irrelevant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @02:08PM (#29827081) Homepage

    Wouldn't the psychological effects of knowing that you're taking part in a (mostly meaningless) test negate any actual behavioral data collected?

    If I was given the opportunity to walk on Mars, I'd consent to outright torture for 6 months.

    If I was placed in isolation, and told that at the end, I'd have gobs of paperwork and medical exams to complete, my psychological perspective would be rather different. I'd get very bored very quickly.

    On the flipside, if I became severely ill in space, I'd (rightfully) panic, while I'd be more comfortable in an isolated trial, knowing that the full facilities of Moscow's health system were at my disposal, a few blocks away.

    Also don't forget the physiological effects of zero-gravity and increased radiation in space that you wouldn't experience on earth.

  • Re:Irrelevant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by decipher_saint (72686) * on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @02:27PM (#29827347) Homepage

    I reckon if people can't handle it in a safe, controlled, Earth bound experiment than we learn something important.

  • Re:This is not new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @02:31PM (#29827401)
    On the other hand, a mars colony is basacly going to be a hamster cage for people. Imagine living with just four plastic walls and an algae tank to look at. It would be like work without internet. I would rather have rock pools and some place to pretend I was on earth.
  • Re:Let them play WOW (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:18PM (#29828057) Journal
    The duration of the mission is the problem. Hormones will cause problems over an extended period with a small unisex crew, or a mixed crew of any size.
    For example, with one third of its crew female, the USS Acadia acquired the sobriquet "the love boat". In a single deployment to the Persian Gulf in late 1990, 36 members of its crew got pregnant.
  • Re:This is not new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by megamerican (1073936) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:28PM (#29828231)

    The Soviets were no Nazi's when it came to record keeping. In fact it was so bad people would disappear from photographs!

  • crazy from the start (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:30PM (#29828261)

    No sane person would volunteer for this. Therefore the whole study is flawed for its purpose

  • by whatajoke (1625715) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:40PM (#29828397)
    The last time a woman volunteered for such an experiment [msn.com], she encountered lots of sexual harrasment from the Russian crew members.

    Less than a month into her run, Lapierre suddenly encountered serious problems. She was twice forcibly French-kissed by the Russian team commander, and soon afterwards witnessed a 10-minute-long fight between two Russians that left blood spattered on the walls.
    She insisted that the controversial kisses were not merely “friendly celebrations” and that she had vigorously told the Russian to back off. She quoted him as saying, "We should try kissing, I haven't been smoking for six months. Then we can kiss after the mission and compare it. Let's do the experiment now."
    Lapierre dismissed the notion that the Russian thought his actions were normal and acceptable. "Why did he try to pull me out of sight of the camera?" she asked.
    When Lapierre's team first entered the modules, Dr. Valery Gushin, the scientific coordinator of the project, voiced attitude that in hindsight could have been seen as warnings about the problem. "Men, they have some expectations from women," he told a Canadian television team. "They want them to be more like women, not just partners. At least Russians do."
    Following the incident, Gushin blamed Lapierre. His official report, which Lapierre has seen, saud she had "ruined the mission, the atmosphere, by refusing to be kissed." She should have been taken out, he wrote, and he also insisted that the foreigners had caused the fight.

  • Re:Let them play WOW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:32AM (#29835813) Journal

    that's only impressive if you'd let us know how many people were on the boat.

    Is using google really too difficult for you?

    From the Washington Times:
    "During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the press branded the destroyer tender USS Acadia the "Love Boat" after 36 sailors -- 10 percent of the women aboard -- became pregnant while deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm."

    From the New York Times:
    "Lieut. Comdr. Jeff Smallwood, said there were no indications of improper fraternization between men and women on the ship. 'These women have a right to get pregnant,' Commander Smallwood said. 'The conclusion somebody is jumping to is that the Acadia is a love boat, and that's not the case.'" http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/30/us/36-women-pregnant-aboard-a-navy-ship-that-served-in-gulf.html [nytimes.com]

    That's an interesting statement, when taken in its context. He's essentially saying that (i) it's OK for the servicemen and servicewomen to service one another, and (ii) servicewomen have a right to get pregnant even on active missions. The first point is sensible enough, even if prudes ashore would disapprove. Since pregnancy is a ticket home away from danger, the second point might be a bit controversial.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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