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Mars Space Science

Astronauts Could Get Lazier As Mars Mission Progresses 145

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 blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @08:32PM (#42512667)
    Well, that's the psychology aspect, but the biological angle might not be as kind.
  • People keep researching Mars missions, being two years in space, like this would be a singular even in human history because of the isolation. The fact is, humans have been doing long duration missions for quite some time. Old Nantucket whalers could be at sea for a year or two. US Navy personel on deployed aircraft carriers and submarines are at sea isolated for six months at a time, sometimes more. Old explorers on Cook's ships, Magellan's ships, were at sea for years. This has been done. We know how to do this. You have a tight captain, brutal discipline, keep people busy, and the mission continues. If there is a problem, it may only be that the crew of a presently manned Mars mission might be too small for that, but maybe we need to rethink what that crew would be?

    Similarly, for all the talk of why mars, or why colonize space, no one has ever, even the left trying to be diabolical, or the right being religious nutty, ever mentioned the concept of the right to form religious colonies. Like, the pilgrims came to America to form their own fruitcake colony so they could live exactly as they wanted to under god. This gulf between science and religion, at least in the case of colonizing space, need not be so vast. Let's have a government that invests and encourages investment in space, so that, if people do want to have a tax free haven on the moon, or on mars, they can. If they want to have a pledge allegiance to the flag of mars and they think mars was made 6000 years ago, let them. Or, if people want to have a libertine sex colony on the moon, let them. The whole point of expanding into space isn't about commerce, its about, breaking away from a crowded earth that demands rules so we can all get along, in exchange for the promise of a loosely populated place where you can live, like the way you want to.

  • by Paul Fernhout ( 109597 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @09:34PM (#42513305) Homepage

    Example: []
    "Research published this past week is the first to report that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk for suicide in US military personnel."

    Seasonal Affective Disorder is well known to be correlated with low sunlight levels: []

    So, I can believe blue morning and red evening would help as mentioned in the article, but I would expect that the participants are getting vitamin d deficient too, because the RDAs are generally several times too low (at least in the USA, not sure about Russia). See also: []

  • But this assumes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @09:48PM (#42513479) Homepage
    That it will take 18 months to get to Mars. I know they're using the rocket model for this but I have to explain:

    Rockets expend a vast amount of their energy just getting free of Earth gravity and then use the acceleration to head toward any object but not under power. So they expend the fuel just within the band of the origin.

    But there's a little technology that is currently propelling a couple of satellites called ion propulsion. It's not a massive dump of energy but a slow, steady one while acceleration increases. Calculation show a trip to Mars would take about 39 days with ion drive. Granted, the spacecraft would be best built in LEO or above that way no aerodynamic issues have to be taken into account. Essentially you'd have something that looks like the lunar lander used in the Apollo program. Not sleek and graceful but sort of cute ugly.
  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:36AM (#42515393) Journal
    Meh, they should just hire nuclear submariners instead of pilots. They manage OK.

    Nowadays much of what NASA does seems to be a big waste of time and money.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.