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Mars Space Science

Russian Simulated Mars Mission Close To 'Landing' 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-wait-for-the-simulated-martian-attack dept.
Dthief writes with this quote from an Associated Press report: "After 233 days in a locked steel capsule, six researchers on a 520-day mock flight to Mars are all feeling strong and ready to 'land' on the Red Planet, the mission director said Friday. The all-male crew of three Russians, a Chinese, a Frenchman and an Italian-Colombian has been inside windowless capsules at a Moscow research center since June. Their mission aims to help real space crews in the future cope with the confinement and stress of interplanetary travel. The researchers communicate with the outside world via emails and video messages — occasionally delayed to give them the feel of being farther than a few yards away from mission control. The crew members eat canned food similar to that eaten on the International Space Station and shower only once a week. None of the men has considered abandoning the mission, although they are free to walk out at any time, mission director and former cosmonaut Boris Morukov told reporters on Friday."
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Russian Simulated Mars Mission Close To 'Landing'

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  • by garcia (6573) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @10:36AM (#34965096)

    I think knowing you can walk out at any time makes the reality of this experiment far less stressful on those inside the test capsule than if they were actually traveling through space and had no opportunity to leave.

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @10:54AM (#34965236) Homepage

    I think it's the reverse, really.

    Since they can walk out at any time, aborting is easy, and the mission can fail due to quite minor disagreements. Nobody needs to put up with anything, they just can go "screw it" and leave. That it's been working so far seems to mean it's working amazingly well.

    On the other hand, if you're in space, and don't like it, what are you going to do? Throw a gigantic tantrum and beat people up? Things like that will bite you in the ass sooner or later, and are likely to result in your death. I think one's self-preservation instinct should provide some motivation.

    Maybe somebody who's been in the military or similar positions can comment: What's it like to be in a life and death situation with a team member you really hate? Do people put aside the personal conflicts until the task gets done?

  • by Semptimilius (917640) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @10:59AM (#34965260)

    From what I've read, they're looking at monitoring mental and physical health of a crew simulating a mission to Mars. The fundamental psychology is different, as pointed out by others, as they can leave at any time. Confinement and isolation are not properly simulated at the fundamental level. The physical side of the test is also not simulated properly, as they are under the influence of Earth's gravity and this has effects on the health of the crew.
     
    Perhaps a first step. A better test would be one at the ISS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, 2011 @11:11AM (#34965332)
    Everybody's bitching because this isn't an exactly perfect simulation (gravity, you-can-leave-at-any-time, etc) but give them some credit: at least they're doing something. If you're a fellow American, you have no grounds for complaining.
  • by sznupi (719324) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @12:19PM (#34965740) Homepage

    What I see being pointed out by others, is false belief that people doing this research are morons...

    While they are, in fact, closely associated with a space agency most experienced, by far, in long duration orbital stays. Being in a prime position to determine which effects don't depend much on microgravity (etc.), so can as well be tested in the discussed test.

  • by joeme1 (959209) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @03:04PM (#34966966)
    Hey, my girlfriend once stopped over at one of our lan parties. She stayed a whole 3 minutes too! So there.

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