Study of psychological impacts of trip to Mars
- URL to an interesting article in CNN
Reports on a study of psychological impacts of a year - 2 year trip to Mars.
There have been a lot of science fiction stories about this. How many of
us could stand to be with the same people for a year or more?
First few paragraphs
"LONDON, England (CNN) -- If Dr. Robert Zubrin could take a trip to Mars, he
would be sure to pack a bread maker in his suitcase. Not just because bread
is a pretty reliable expeditionary food, but because the act of cooking,
according to Zubrin, seems to help people get along with each other, especially
when they are in slightly dire, less than luxurious and more than stressful
Red Planet pioneers will face extreme isolation and confinement on a
years-long trip to Mars.
And Zubrin would know, too. He has, after all, led almost a half-dozen mock
Mars missions on barren Arctic ice fields and scorching Utah deserts with
volunteer teams made up of students, scientists, journalists and anyone else
willing to wear fake spacesuits and live in tiny tin-can-like habitation modules
for days on end.
The simulated expeditions were made, in part, to research ways to live and
work on the Red Planet. But they also revealed something else: what
personality types might best be suited to make the 35 million-mile journey and who
would be better off watching from Mission Control.
"Some of these crews have worked out very well," said Zubrin, president of
the Mars Society, a 7,000-member multinational group determined to reach what
it calls the New World. "Others were at each other's throats."
While it will probably take at least another 20 years before Zubrin -- or
anyone else for that matter -- makes it to the Martian surface, _NASA_
(http://topics.cnn.com/topics/nasa) and other space agencies are already drawing up
plans for a voyage that will present astronauts not only with physical but
also psychological challenges never faced by humans before.
"When you go to Mars, all bets are off," said Dr. Nick Kanas, a professor at
the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied astronaut
psychology. "We don't know what is going to happen."
One particularly important task, Kanas explained, will be picking a team of
astronauts who can both work and get along with each other on a trip lasting
at least two years, spent mostly within the confines of a not-so-big
spacecraft sailing through the dark. The European Space Agency and the Russian
Institute of Biomedial Problems are scheduled to run a joint 520-day mock Mars
expedition this year aimed to study the effects of extreme isolation and
confinement on 12 volunteers."
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