FAKING THE MARS LANDING

from : http://spectregroup.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/faking-the-mars-landing-pt-3/

Personnel Issue : Not All Pretend Astronauts Equally Serious
http://geekosystem.com/mars-desert-research-station-mdrs/
http://gizmodo.com/5476462/fake-mars-mission-befallen-by-real-drama

“The two-week simulations, including various experiments and equipment tests, take place at the Mars Desert Research Station, located outside Hanksville, Utah. The volunteers who participate are expected to take the matter very seriously—after all, our future Mars colony depends on it. But of course, some pretend Mars astronauts are more dedicated than other pretend Mars astronauts and this is where the trouble starts. After days of snits and snubs, the tension came to a head on February 15. In that day’s report, Commander Vermeulen explains: “…The growing frustration that after 9 days PE, Nora and Margaux are still not able to manage the Hab systems/ standard engineering reporting system (and even don’t consider this as a problem!), exploded during the lunch. The lack of dedication to the mission of some people overloads the others and it had to be spoken out. The problem was already there from the first day, when it came out that some people didn’t prepare anything for the mission, didn’t look at the manuals, which were send to them months ago and didn’t even prepare the tasks for their own role. The accusation into my direction that I didn’t brief enough about the systems was too much. Nicky almost exploded. Arjan reacted double: At one hand he couldn’t stop criticising the incompetence of some others during last week, but during the discussion he acted as if he was from Barcelona (don’t know anything). He has his own mission and own world…” The Commander’s Reports for the last days of the mission, which ended yesterday, obscure the interpersonal conflicts that paralyzed the crew. Only a few bloody noses are referenced, perhaps as physical manifestations of the crew’s frustrations.”

Boredom Practice, Minus Actual Danger
http://newscientist.com/article/dn18025-whats-the-point-of-a-fake-500day-mars-mission.html

“A few aspects cannot be simulated, however. There will be no radiation exposure or zero gravity, and if there is a real emergency during the simulation, volunteers will have the right to get out at any time. A study by Peter Suedfeld of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, argues that such experiments lack some key attributes of real long-haul space flight, such as dangerous voyages through unknown territory and the impossibility of rescue. Suedfeld concludes that mission planners would better identify the psychological stresses likely to be experienced by Mars explorers by reading the diaries of explorers on long expeditions over sea and land in previous centuries. Some behavioural scientists feel Antarctic research stations or nuclear submarines offer better analogies to prolonged space flight. But although Antarctic outposts have the necessary elements of danger, confinement and isolation, they lack the high level of automation found in space flight. Nuclear submarine control rooms are more like spacecraft, but military secrecy puts them off limits for academic research. A better model may be the experience of astronauts aboard space stations orbiting Earth. Their stays have lasted up to 438 days. By and large, space station missions have gone without incident. However, NASA astronauts on a three-month mission to Skylab in 1973 went on strike for a day saying they felt overworked and unsupported by their ground crew. In 1982, two Soviet cosmonauts spent most of a 211-day flight in silence because they got on each other’s nerves. Three years later, a six-month Soviet mission was cut short when a cosmonaut had a nervous breakdown. Sexual harassment could also endanger a mission. In an eight-month space station simulation in 2000, a man twice tried to kiss a woman against her will. As a result, locks were installed between different crew compartments. Astronauts in orbit often express feelings of neglect by ground crews, in part because of lags in communication and perhaps also because of a need by astronauts to take out their frustrations on others. As a result, ground crews as well as astronauts now receive psychological training.”

Alone Time
http://newscientist.com/article/mg18925421.400-in-space-no-one-can-hear-you-scream.html
In space no one else can hear you scream at each other

“You and your fellow inmates are bound to have survived some hair-raising, potentially fatal crises, and everyone’s nerves will be in tatters. The pilot won’t talk to the engineer. And if that geologist looks at you and rolls his eyes one more time, you’ll punch his lights out. Despite the exciting goals, a crewed mission to Mars would mean enormous psychological stress. The centrepiece of each station in the Utah desert and in the outback in Southern Australia, is an 8-metre-wide cylindrical habitat, or hab. Crews of four to six live and work as if they were on Mars, testing reconnaissance robots and collecting rocks in mock spacesuits. During Eggins’s studies, the volunteers completed questionnaires to assess their interactions with others. This revealed that people tend to cluster into cliques that often put their own goals ahead of the whole mission’s objectives. This led to a mishap in a Utah simulation in 2003, when the group split into three teams. One stayed in the hab, and two went out on separate rover trips, returning at about the same time. One person in the second rover damaged his helmet and was theoretically leaking oxygen. “It was obvious to everybody that in theory, if this was really Mars, then this guy would die,” says Eggins. However, the first team insisted on getting into the hab first and told the others to wait their turn, she says: “The first team were not thinking at all in terms of the overall goal of the mission, just of their own rights and the distinct subgroup.” In another Utah simulation last summer, Eggins’s colleague Sheryl Bishop of the University of Texas in Galveston studied the differences between an all-male crew, who lived in the hab for two weeks, and an all-female crew who moved in for the following fortnight. Both teams performed well and were very productive, but they did differ. Personality surveys showed that several of the men scored low on “agreeableness” and “conscientiousness”, and the group’s behaviour echoed this. Every night, the women filed daily reports to mission control by the agreed time. But the men were persistently late. They said they preferred to use the time to explore outside on the buggies.”

Volunteering Not To Leave Earth
http://newscientist.com/article/dn9770

“More than 70 people have volunteered to be confined in a mock mission to Mars – for 520 days. It would be the longest simulation of its kind. The Institute of Medical and Biological Problems (IMBP) in Russia is undertaking the isolation study to learn more about the personal dynamics of long-duration space travel, according to Russian media reports. An actual round-trip mission to Mars could last about 30 months – about twice as long as this simulation. Five people will be eventually be selected for the study. They will spend 250 days on a simulated space trip to Mars. Then, three of the five will leave the mock spaceship for a simulated “landing on Mars” that will last 30 days. The five participants will then embark on a 240-day journey “back to Earth”. They will communicate with mission control by email. The simulations lack some of the appeal that draws people to spaceflight, so researchers may end up studying a different group of people than those who would actually fly on a space mission, he says. The IMBP has tried to minimise this issue by using cosmonauts and astronaut candidates in the past. And they are giving preference in this simulation to applicants who are doctors, biologists and engineers between the ages of 25 and 50. But Musson says a long-duration space mission may take a different type of astronaut than those who go on shorter trips to space. He points out that on the International Space Station and on Russia’s former Mir space station, some of the go-getter astronauts with multiple academic degrees found themselves bored by some of the mundane tasks onboard. Musson says someone with a more laidback personality might be better suited for a long-duration mission to Mars.”

Previously On Spectre :
Faking The Mars Landing
http://spectregroup.wordpress.com/2007/04/24/faking-the-mars-landing/
Faking The Mars Landing, pt 2
http://spectregroup.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/faking-the-mars-landing-pt-2/

Categories: Spectre Group Reports | Tags: | Leave a comment

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was, amongst other things, a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print publications and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I wrote a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s