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Mars Space Science

Astronauts Could Get Lazier As Mars Mission Progresses 145

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the pass-the-chips dept.
sciencehabit writes "Imagine life on a spaceship headed to Mars. You and your five crewmates work, exercise, and eat together every day under the glow of fluorescent lights. As the months pass, the sun gets dimmer and communication with Earth gets slower. What does this do to your body? According to an Earth-based experiment in which six volunteers stayed in a windowless 'spaceship' for nearly a year and a half, the monotony, tight living space, and lack of natural light will probably make you sleep more and work less. Space, for all intents and purposes, turns you into a couch potato."
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Astronauts Could Get Lazier As Mars Mission Progresses

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  • by erice (13380) on Monday January 07, 2013 @08:09PM (#42512419) Homepage

    A year and half in simulated mars mission where you know it is a simulation has to be worse. In a real Mars mission, the crew will be know their activities are important: for the excitement to be first on mars, for the knowledge that a serious screw up could them their lives. On a simulated mission, you're just guinea pigs. Staying motivated must very difficult.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2013 @09:08PM (#42513011)

    Sadly enough, I think you're being serious.

    This experiment was precisely to test if trained astronauts, in peak physical and mental health, could maintain that over a long period of isolation and lack of earth-like conditions. Unsurprisingly, the answer was "No" for reasons that anyone (at least, anyone living up here in the north, where sun doesn't stay up for more than a couple of hours a day for several months each winter) could have predicted:

    Actigraphy revealed that crew sedentariness increased across the mission as evident in decreased waking movement (i.e., hypokinesis) and increased sleep and rest times. Light exposure decreased during the mission. The majority of crewmembers also experienced one or more disturbances of sleep quality, vigilance deficits, or altered sleep–wake periodicity and timing, suggesting inadequate circadian entrainment

    To suggest that "The fact that such environment seriously fscks up your physical and mental health is just because they were sloths to begin with. REAL men wouldn't go through such." is just absurd.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Monday January 07, 2013 @09:23PM (#42513161) Homepage

    A year and half in simulated mars mission where you know it is a simulation has to be worse.

    Since you seem to have have no actual experience in significant simulators, you couldn't possibly understand how wrong you are. You're on the line in the simulator too, and you damn well know it. You honestly think the guys in the simulator aren't motivated to do the best job possible?
     

    In a real Mars mission, the crew will be know their activities are important: for the excitement to be first on mars, for the knowledge that a serious screw up could them their lives.

    You can't sustain that kind of excitement/attention for months at a time, it's mentally extremely exhausting. And, having been there done that, the knowledge that a serious screwup could cost you your life eventually fades into the background noise. Back when I was making SSBN patrols, we saw the same things they saw in the study... guys tended to sleep more, lag more, and get lazier and sloppier as the patrol wore on. It took real effort to counteract it. Unlike these guys, we had experience and a culture (pride in your crew and boat and in wearing the fish) that made counteracting it something of a priority - but it was still hard to be as on top of things on day sixty five of a patrol as you were on day one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2013 @09:26PM (#42513197)

    Go read up sometime on current astronaut selection criteria.

    There's a lot less "balls of steel," than there is "plays well with others," and "pays great attention to detail even when tired, bored, or otherwise distracted."

  • by celtic_hackr (579828) on Monday January 07, 2013 @10:09PM (#42513689) Journal

    Stupid studies. Why not look at history? A trip to Mars is about five months (150 days) with current technology, although, most of our trips these days are in the nine month category (260 days, less fuel). The American Colonists spent up to 3 months sailing across the Atlantic. A trip from England to it's colony China, back in the day was a very dangerous and lengthy journey, well over nine months in length. A circumnavigation of the planet took three years to do. US subs, regularly stay submerged for 9 months at a time. No sunlight. When's the last time you've heard of a nuclear sub being lost because the crew got lazy? Right. Never.

    Idiots and their surveys. Whatever editor allowed this post needs to have his/her Geek and Nerd credentials yanked.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Monday January 07, 2013 @11:37PM (#42514371) Homepage

    US subs, regularly stay submerged for 9 months at a time. No sunlight. When's the last time you've heard of a nuclear sub being lost because the crew got lazy?

      USS San Francisco [wikipedia.org] - 08 Jan 2005. OK, so they didn't lose the ship but they came awfully damn close. Why? In part, I believe, because they'd been gone a long time and were headed for a liberty port. And in the years I spent at sea, it was always the end of patrol when I got nervous... because things could tend to get sloppy and guys tended to get lazy towards the end of a run. And that went times ten when we went non-alert and started making turns for King's Bay and turnover.
     

    Stupid studies. Why not look at history?

    We aren't the same people we were a century or more ago - society has changed, people's expectations have changed, etc... etc...
     

    Idiots and their surveys. Whatever editor allowed this post needs to have his/her Geek and Nerd credentials yanked.

    The idiot here isn't the editor - it's looking back in your mirror.

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