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Mars NASA

Mars Mission: How Hard? NASA Astronauts Weigh In 41

astroengine writes: In an interesting interview with Discovery News, retired NASA astronauts Clay Anderson (Expedition 15/16) and Steve Swanson (Expedition 39/40) discussed their views on how the US space agency should select the first Mars-bound astronauts — a mission that is slated to commence in the late 2020's. While Swanson thinks that the current NASA astronaut selection process should suffice for a long-duration foray to the Red Planet, Anderson isn't so sure, saying, "(Mars) doesn't require a jet fighter pilot. It doesn't require a Ph.D. astronaut — although those people would be just fine, but I think that it's going to take people that are very good generalists, that can do many things." As depicted in the upcoming Matt Damon movie, "The Martian," Mark Watney (Damon) is thrown into an unexpected, life-threatening situation, requiring him to use his general skill set to survive on the barren landscape until he's rescued. As the first manned missions to Mars will likely throw unforeseen challenges at the explorers, it will probably be a good idea to have a crew that are adept at thinking on the fly and skilled in many different areas rather than being a specialist in one.
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Mars Mission: How Hard? NASA Astronauts Weigh In

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  • But Star Trek! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @05:02PM (#50631363)

    As depicted in the upcoming Matt Damon movie, "The Martian," Mark Watney (Damon) is thrown into an unexpected, life-threatening situation, requiring him to use his general skill set to survive on the barren landscape until he's rescued.

    Yeah, but Star Trek suggests that a team of highly skilled specialists working together is the way to go.

    Then again, maybe we shouldn't be basing mission planning on a bunch of cheezy fucking sci-fi movies. Just a thought.

    • Re:But Star Trek! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @05:06PM (#50631391)

      Yeah, but Star Trek suggests that a team of highly skilled specialists working together is the way to go.

      Granted, but the crew of most starships in Star Trek is rather large. The smaller the crew, the broader the experience of each crew member needs to be. A five-person team, especially when cut off from Earth by a large round-trip communications gap, needs to composed of people who know more than just their PhD thesis.

      • Re:But Star Trek! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @05:27PM (#50631539)

        I don't know, Star Trek suggests to me that starships typically have a crew of around seven people:
        * Captain
        * First Officer
        * Helmsman
        * Chief Engineer
        * Science Officer
        * Doctor
        * Security Officer

        ...and also a bunch of passengers who walk around the ship carrying tablets, pressing buttons, and getting themselves killed in interesting ways.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          ...and also a bunch of passengers who walk around the ship carrying tablets, pressing buttons, and getting themselves killed in interesting ways.

          Word to the wise: if you do get picked as an astronaut for The Red Planet, be sure you don't wear a red shirt [wikipedia.org]. And don't even get any red dust on your shirt while you're there, just in case...

        • All others are replacement #1, replacement #2, etc. until they run out of people.

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          ...and also a bunch of passengers who walk around the ship carrying tablets, pressing buttons, and getting themselves killed in interesting ways.

          You underestimate their value. If the other seven didn't have these passengers, they'd never survive in space.

          That's why I refer to anyone in the Trek shows who isn't a main or recurring character as "ablative armor" for the cast.

        • by BranMan ( 29917 )

          To quote one of the more fun episodes of the original:

          "All I ever seen is you, and a couple of your boys. I don' see no FEDERATION !

    • Then again, maybe we shouldn't be basing mission planning on a bunch of cheezy fucking sci-fi movies. Just a thought.

      Right. I think we should stick to parody [imdb.com].

    • Then again, maybe we shouldn't be basing mission planning on a bunch of cheezy fucking sci-fi movies.

      You know our space program is in trouble when Slashdot discussions are considered "mission planning".

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      Reminds me of Michael Crichton's Sphere.

      An astrophysicist, biochemist, mathematician and a psychiatrist. Sounds about right!

      Because uhhhh... umm... yep, sounds about right!

  • "Pretty fucking hard."
  • Ive looked but I can't seem to find a VOD release date.

  • or space 'small people'....in other works, the smallest adults.
  • by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @05:50PM (#50631713)
    If things go well, they're probably dead. If things go not so well, they are dead. There is no special set of skills that will make a real difference.
  • Send Angus McGyver with a swiss army knife, duct tape, and paper clip with the crew and they'd be all set.

    But seriously, it takes creative problem solving and knowledge of everything.

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @07:16PM (#50632197) Homepage Journal

    On Mars, NASA astronauts only weigh in at 0.38 times what they do on Earth.

  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 )

    You want somebody who can somehow survive the incredible boredom of traveling to Mars without going crazy. Seriously, he'll be locked inside a tiny cabin where he can barely move for two months just to get there. Then he'll arrive with muscles mostly atrophied and stuck inside either a space suit or a tiny living quarters.

    He doesn't need to solve shit, for most everything it would make more sense just to radio home and ask them what to do. He won't have to make split decisions, because he'll be going thr

  • So they'd want a "Jack of all trades, master of none" because that has worked so well on other occasions?

The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair". -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"

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