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posted by Dopefish on Friday April 04 2014, @06:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the at-least-women-will-live-on-venus dept.

When astronauts first began flying in space, NASA worried about "space madness," a mental malady they thought might arise from humans experiencing microgravity and claustrophobic isolation inside of a cramped spacecraft high above the Earth. Now Megan Garber writes in The Atlantic that NASA is hoping to find out what life on Mars does to the human emotional state by putting three men and three women in a 1,000-square-foot habitat shaped like a dome for four months. The volunteers in the second HI-SEAS mission a purposely tiny group selected out of a group of 700 applicants include, among others, a neuropsychologist, an aerospace engineer, and an Air Force veteran who is studying human factors in aviation. "We're going to stress them," says Kim Binsted, the project's principal investigator. "That's the nature of the study."

That test involves isolating the crew in the same way they'd be isolated on Mars. The only communication they'll be allowed with the outside world-that is to say, with their family and friends-will be conducted through email. (And that will be given an artificial delay of 20 minutes to simulate the lag involved in Mars-to-Earth communications.) If that doesn't seem too stressful, here's another source of stress: Each mission member will get only eight minutes of shower time ... per week. The stress will be compounded by the fact that the only time the crew will be able to leave their habitat-yurt is when they're wearing puffy, insulated uniforms that simulate space suits in the Hawaiian heat. Throughout the mission, researchers will be testing the subjects' moods and the changes they exhibit in their relationships with each other. They'll also be examining the crew members' cognitive skills, seeing whether-and how-they change as the experiment wears on. Binsted says the mission has gotten the attention of the TV world, but don't expect to see much inside-the-dome footage. "You wouldn't believe the number of producers who called us," says Binsted. "Fortunately, we're not ethically allowed to subject our crew to that kind of thing."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mhajicek on Friday April 04 2014, @09:40PM

    by mhajicek (51) on Friday April 04 2014, @09:40PM (#26411)

    Study submarine crews.

    --
    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Friday April 04 2014, @11:26PM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Friday April 04 2014, @11:26PM (#26450)

    With respect there are some differences:

    1 - The relatively short time frame underwater (6 months is not years)
    2 - Larger population allows for more diversity in contact and communication
    3 - Military structure and disipline vs a more civilian science/proto-military community
    4 - Being on Earth.

    I don't think we can fathom (these days) what it means to be in close proximity to our home planet. Ars Technica had an article on how a shuttle crew could be saved if tiles were too damaged. Subs have escape pods and hatches to provide the semblance of safety and the almost unconscious tholught that rescue is possible.

    When people go to Mars, there will be no rescue, no escape pod when the shit hit the fan. Subs come close, but nothing well ever tell us how we do until we just do it. Kind of like the first explorers that crossed the Atlantic (or Pacific). How many did not ever make it back? How much did that matter compared to the riches in discovering new places. As a species, we have grow soft. On a planet where we have 7 billion people we feel life is so precious we don't even allow people to try, compared to a time when live was precious, and we went anyway.

    We have crawled back to the caves, we have climbed back into the trees.

    --
    The more things change, the more they look the same