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Mars NASA Space

NASA Is Already Studying What Sort of Person Is Best Suited For Mars (blastingnews.com) 144

MarkWhittington writes: The first crew to set forth to Mars are likely in Middle School or High School, but NASA is already delving into what criteria it should use to select the interplanetary explorers. That they should be physically fit and experts in their fields are a given. But the space agency is keen that the people who will set forth to Mars in 20 years or so should be of a particular psychological type. NASA has granted Johns Hopkins money to conduct a study into the problem.
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NASA Is Already Studying What Sort of Person Is Best Suited For Mars

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  • by redmid17 ( 1217076 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:13PM (#51513727)
    It's probably going to be an exceedingly intelligent, physically fit, mentally well-adjusted white man

    You know like 90%+ of the astronauts they've ever picked. Optional: Actually having been in space, spent time on the ISS, or experienced crushing loneliness for months/years at a time

    If loneliness were a pre-req, us slashdotters would cut to the front of the line!
    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:17PM (#51513759)
      I'm betting that those that are good for the Navy's Submarine Service would also have a good chance. Being locked in one metal tube for months on-end versus being locked in another metal tube for months on-end, plus having an elevated amount of responsibility and the ever-present risk that an otherwise-small problem having drastic consequences.
      • by PinkyGigglebrain ( 730753 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:56PM (#51514113)
        while you have an excellent point about a submariner there is one very important thing that you, and a lot of other people overlook. The simple fact that someone in a sub, or even an isolation chamber, knows that fresh air and home are only a short distance away, a few hundred feet up or a hundred miles thataway. If something goes wrong in a simulation you can always just open the door.

        The people who go to Mars are going to have to face a completely new condition, that of being totally alone in an environment so hostile it will kill you in seconds. I don't think we yet know how to test for a personality type that can handle that, we can make educated guesses but until someone actually goes to Mars we won't know for sure if the people we send have "the Right Stuff"
        • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:08PM (#51514183)

          You have to get out of the submarine first before you get all that fresh air. You can't just open the door a few hundred feet below the surface.

          And even if you get to the surface without suffering from the bends or drowning, you're now facing water temperatures of what -- 70F if you're lucky, and if you're not, much less than that. The same hypothermia that will kill you in space will kill you nearly as fast in the water.

          • You are truly alone in the instant an emergency occurs, whether in a submarine leagues beneath the sea's surface, or millions of miles away on extraterrestrial soil.

            The difference is clearly the position you're in after you are crafty & resourceful enough to survive the life-threatening event.

            You are either waiting for the Coast Guard or wondering if it's really possible to grow vegetables on another planet.

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

          This may be why we need humans to go back to the moon first with plans for a long-term habitat. It largely has the same dangers, but there might be at least a chance of implementing an emergency rescue mission if something goes wrong. (It would still be harder than a rescue mission from the ISS but not nearly as difficult as from Mars.)

          • by TWX ( 665546 )
            Those are my thoughts too. Hell, it would be possible with a Lunar base to have both an Earth-based rescue vehicle on standby, waiting to be fueled similar to how ICBMs were/are kept on standby, and given the proximity and the Moon and the relatively small amount of fuel needed to reach it compared to Mars, it would probably be feasible to place emergency escape vehicles and fueling equipment on the Moon so that a lunar base could be evacuated quickly.
          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            More logically a Moon Base, say a primarily a galactic and solar system observatory would also provide the best training environment and be part of the selection process for missions further afield. So serve a year or two on the moon before you can get selected for missions further afield to say Mars, the asteroid fields, various moons around the place and the first to reach a planet around another star (possibly by that stage we would have quite the burgeoning metropolis on the moon, the ultimate global h

            • by Anonymous Coward

              After "a year or two on the moon" a persons bones would be so weak that they couldn't come back to earth, much less deal with the force of a launch.

              Low gravity makes for lower bone mass.

              • You're correct, of course...but we're judging life in space based on a infinitely small sample.

                There will be bone loss, discomfort, and unpleasant adaptation. There will be deaths. People will sacrifice so we learn, but some will do better than others and pass those genes onto children who can do even better than that.

                If we do not begin to spread human life off planet, this eggs in one basket policy is going to backfire.

          • by donaldm ( 919619 )
            Basally we as a potential space faring species have to crawl before we walk much less run. Our Moon is a destination where we can learn to crawl in relative safety, Unfortunately the Moon is is not romantic enough in the eyes of the media or our politicians where Mars is, so basically we are learning to run before we have a chance to learn to crawl, what can possibly go wrong?
      • I'm betting that those that are good for the Navy's Submarine Service would also have a good chance. Being locked in one metal tube for months on-end versus being locked in another metal tube for months on-end, plus having an elevated amount of responsibility and the ever-present risk that an otherwise-small problem having drastic consequences.

        The problem about having gone through military training is that it focuses so strongly on rigid discipline. Discipline is no doubt vitally important in any sort of army, but the downside is that it tends to be a sort of canned pattern of behaviour that you are supposed to follow unthinkingly, and what you need in an emergency, where external help is impossible, is probably a good deal of ability to improvise and not follow discipline, unless it makes good sense. Also, lonelyness is perhaps not so much an i

    • I worked on some science missions out in the middle of the Greenland ice sheet, back in the day. The support crews there were largely made up of rural Alaskans. They were chosen in part because they (demonstrably) were able to handle being very isolated for long periods of time.

    • A dead person - because that's what they'll end up with anyway. Zombies of Mars!
    • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

      It's going to be hard. They're going to have to tie a lot of desire to survive and knowledge in with a general lack of need for other human contact.

    • I've seen documentary called 'The Martian' - they're sending Matt Damon.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's probably going to be an exceedingly intelligent, physically fit, mentally well-adjusted white man

      I've been suggesting climbing Sherpas for a while, but people don't seem to realize I'm serious.
      - They're preselected for requiring less oxygen than your average European, reducing the mass of the required life support systems
      - They tend to be smaller than Americans of European descent, reducing the amount of supplies required
      - Used to dealing with cold, hostile environments
      - Probably plenty of smart ones available (assuming they're crazy enough to go to Mars).

      If you start with people who think living at 18

    • I'm thinking just the opposite. It should be Liberals, Hillary Supporters and Telephone Handset Sanitizers. However, maybe you were being sarcastic and actually agree with me.
    • > exceedingly intelligent, physically fit, mentally well-adjusted white man

      The "white man" comes from passing all the training courses. However, they're also going to need to be _small_. Any extra hight adds up to many thousands if not millions of dollars in oxygen consumption, foodl consumption, and the fuel and resources to support them over the course of a many year mission. They'll also probably be male because it's much easier to put a simply condom based catheter on a man for the plumbing in a spac

    • They should also be good at math [youtube.com].

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:14PM (#51513731) Homepage

    Somebody who loves potatoes!

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:14PM (#51513733) Homepage
    1. Donald Trump: BRING HIM HOME.
    2. Martin Schkreli: are we entirely sure martial air is toxic? this is for science damn you.
    3. Justin Bieber: yes...but...can we sing in martian atmosphere...thats the real question.
  • by scunc ( 4201789 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:16PM (#51513753)
    Question 1: Are you physically fit?
    Question 2: Are you an expert in your field?
    Question 3: Do you like potatoes?

    ---
    That's one small potato for (a) man ...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The first crew to set forth to Mars are likely in Middle School or High School, ...

    Well, it's not gonna be me. I've been out of middle school for decades. But so they really think 11-13 years olds are going to be well suited for Mars? They're going for from cliques, they'll bully one another, they're gonna worry about dating....I don't think NASA really thought through the idea of sending Middle School students to Mars.

    • by Thud457 ( 234763 )
      BRB...
      submitting treatment for "Lord of the Flies" on Mars.
    • by Punko ( 784684 )
      FFS I guess you didn't actually understand what was written. The first crew, when the project leaves in about 20 years, will be made up of folks that are currently in middle school or high school. No agency will be sending minors. Miners possibly, but not minors.
  • The article states that applicants should be "experts in their fields' and "in peak physical condition". We can all agree that they need to be technically competent in several technical areas, but I don't believe they need to be "experts". Also, while I can agree that the crew need to be in good shape, the important thing would be to ensure that the crew are in a physical condition best suited to minimize the chances of ill-health considering their environment. I do not believe that being of "peak physic
  • Saving a few kilos on these missions is very important, I'd say someone under 50kg would be on the money. You might be able to go lower if they had no legs as legs are basically baggage on a space journey. Especially when NASA have been asked to do everything on the cheap.

  • then the astronaut has not been born as of yet.
    • Just what I was thinking. Take a baby (babies?) that's a total orphan and have it grow up as if it were born on Mars, then send the adult to to Mars. After all, the new Martian will not be returning back to earth ever.
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:25PM (#51513843)

    Large bulbous head, with antenna like growths optional but desired.

  • by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:26PM (#51513851) Homepage Journal

    Dont mine long hours alone.
    They love things that go fast.
    Could use a simulated Deer hunt for entertainment.
    Can fix anything with duck tape and some wire.
    Will eat just about anything.
    There real good at growing stuff.

    What more could you ask for?

    Just need to outfit the ship to look like a pickup and the habitat to look like a Winnebago. Maybe Offer a million $ to the first one to shoot a deer on mars. :p

  • 'Cause Mars ain't no kind of place to raise your kids.
    • You think you're kidding. I must now recommend the television show "Rocket City Rednecks" a bunch of good ol' boys including several NASA engineers who explored numerous engineering challenges. The "use a Winnebago to test recycling and living enclosed for a Mars mission" episode was splendid fun. The need for much more beer than expected for the water recycling was priceless, as was the "don't put the water recycler too close to the driver's seat" lesson.

      The show was wonderful, and like Mythbusters explore

  • by godel_56 ( 1287256 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:27PM (#51513871)
    Expendable.
  • The people that are best suited to go to mars are those who either explicitly have a death wish or else those who are simply too naive to realize that going there at the technology that we have right now is suicide. Heck, do you know how many people died just trying to sail halfway around the world to the Americas from Europe only a few centuries ago? And that was on a planet with a hospitable atmosphere!

    The moon, at least, has more merit as a place to go to in that, at least theoretically, we can reach it from Earth in less time than it would take people who might get stranded there to starve to death.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I really thought by now that we would have a permanent beacon strobe on the moon.

      Wouldn't that be neat? During a new moon you would just see this flashing light blinking out NASA (SPACEX if budget cuts keep up) in morse code.

      Why? why not?

      Think about it you could go outside with your kids and point and say see that blinking light? We put that there.

      We really ought to have something on the moon. A permanent base would be nice. The moon is much closer and is roughly the same distance away year around. With the

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:10PM (#51515551) Homepage

      The people that are best suited to go to mars are those who either explicitly have a death wish or else those who are simply too naive to realize that going there at the technology that we have right now is suicide. Heck, do you know how many people died just trying to sail halfway around the world to the Americas from Europe only a few centuries ago? And that was on a planet with a hospitable atmosphere!

      We fairly reliably sent people to the moon with 1960s tech 6/7 times and saved Apollo 13, some 133/135 Shuttle missions were a success, we've operated a space station for 18 years, we got rovers on Mars operating over a decade... okay so space is not exactly like flying from London to New York yet, but we've certainly tamed it quite a bit. Sure, the mission is longer but most things that are critical happen during the launch/landing phase, we have a decade of on-site weather data and the Martian was a movie. And we're likely to have robots making a dry run testing the landing and establishing the habitat first, still considering the complexity I'd give it maybe 90-95% chance of success.

      Certainly nothing to sneeze at but nine of out ten times you get an experience only one in a billion will have and the tenth time, well you'd likely be really dead really quick. To be honest, the risk of being in a parachuting or mountain climbing accident and ending up as a cripple is scarier than becoming a fireball, besides I'm not an adrenaline junkie. Going to Mars though, I'd sign up for that. Of course it helps that I don't have any commitments, I wouldn't do it if I had a wife and kids but there's plenty of us around. And shit, 70-75 years ago tens of millions were dying for war. Even if the mission is a wipe, that's like ten deaths for exploration and science? The horror.

  • Rockets (Score:4, Funny)

    by slashping ( 2674483 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:35PM (#51513953)
    NASA should focus on rockets, not people. Let's first see a rocket that can make it to Mars surface, pick up a ton of rocks, and fly back to Earth. When you've shown you can do that, then you can start looking for people and doing silly tests.
    • Not sure why this is modded funny... Not on rockets, but on spacecraft. Lets demonstrate that we can put a person outside the van Allen belts in sufficient centrifugally generated gravity that after a couple of years they will still be not dead and able to walk in gravity. During that we can also demonstrate that we can get stuff back from Mars. After all that engineering is done, then we can worry about the state of mind of a person going to Mars and back.
  • ...likely hasn't even been born yet, because we're not going any time soon. NASA "plan" is a load of vapor.

  • That's an amazing coincidence!

    I'm currently studying what kind of organization is qualified to study what sort of person is best suited for Mars, and I've already disqualified NASA, since they had no real plans to *actually* go there, until they were shamed into it by a private company.

    • Oh they have actual plans, and if they had the money they could probably make it work too. Lets hope the Chinese hackers can manage to convince the upper brass to actually execute the plan after they steal the technology to make it happen.
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:47PM (#51514041) Homepage

    Matt Damon
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Taylor Kitsch

  • https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/903808337/dr-manhattan_400x400.jpg
  • How about you make it so any reasonable average person could go? As in, stop f'ing around and make space *accessible*.

  • Have I got some suggestions for them! Shit, do they want to stop at sorts of person? I can start making nominations right now. The sooner the departure the better.

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:41PM (#51514447)
    100% Dungeons and Dragons players. The 30 days or whatever would fly by if they run a lvl 1-30 campaign. They'd probably actually be requesting an orbit around Mars while they finish the level 28 quest line when they get there. Time really does fly when you're playing tabletop D&D.
    • 100% Dungeons and Dragons players. The 30 days or whatever would fly by if they run a lvl 1-30 campaign.

      I should hope whomever we send has the good sense not to play 4e.

  • by X10 ( 186866 )

    They should go for an elderly person (nothing to lose), with an Msc in astrophysics, with great tech skills.

  • Botanist
  • by PJ6 ( 1151747 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:46PM (#51515339)
    Please stop linking to sites that can't even use correct spelling in their titles.
  • Hey, dummies, this will most definitely not be "the longest, most hazardous voyage in history". Three years is a long time, but explorers have often set out on voyages that take longer. Have you maybe heard of Charles Darwin and The Beagle? That voyage took almost five years, and it still isn't a record. And it's straight up laughable to say that it's the most hazardous voyage in history. NASA will never run it if the chance of death is over 10%. By historical standards, I'd call that a voyage of moderate h

  • Crew will have no privacy on flight. It seems millennials posting everything about them on social networks will be the perfect fit.
  • And, Lunatics are best suited for the Moon AKA Luna. Tim S.
  • The submarine force has been conducting extended testing on the sort of person who can perform under these conditions for most of the past 100+ years.
  • would do.

  • Come on, fat, white neckbeard...
  • I think they started at least thirty years too late.

  • You have to be crazy enough to want to do a winterover (or a Mars mission).
    But you also have to be sane enough to spend over a year in a tin can with a bunch of people you may not like all that much, with nothing much to do, sure death waiting outside and no early exit. I speak from experience [gdargaud.net].
  • Hillary Clinton

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