PDA

View Full Version : Mars mission simulation!



dpaterso
03-23-2010, 11:56 PM
'Cosmonauts' ready for Mars test
By Jonathan Amos
Science correspondent, BBC News

A Belgian, two Frenchmen and a Colombian-Italian have agreed to be locked away in steel containers for 18 months to simulate a mission to Mars.

Their self-imposed exile will test the physical and mental requirements of ultra-long duration spaceflight.
Full article at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8579277.stm

:eek:!!

-Derek

Sophia
03-24-2010, 12:42 AM
I'm impressed at their dedication, as I think something that would make it easier would be knowing that if you came through it with flying colours, you'd be picked for the real thing, to follow soon after (lucky so and sos!). But if that's decades away...

"A Belgian, two Frenchmen and a Colombian-Italian" immediately made me think of high quality chocolate, wine and coffee. I hope those are among their supplies. :D

efkelley
03-24-2010, 04:32 AM
"A Belgian, two Frenchmen and a Colombian-Italian" immediately made me think of high quality chocolate, wine and coffee.

Whereas I immediately followed that by saying '...walk into a bar'. :D

I'm not sure how they'll be able to handle doing the same things all day every day, and staring at the same place all day every day. Now, if y'all will excuse me, I have to get back to playing Warcraft. ;)

Sophia
03-24-2010, 02:00 PM
Whereas I immediately followed that by saying '...walk into a bar'. :D

I'm not sure how they'll be able to handle doing the same things all day every day, and staring at the same place all day every day. Now, if y'all will excuse me, I have to get back to playing Warcraft. ;)

LOL! Actually, I did think that, too. :D

Computer games! I was going to say it sounded like a great opportunity to get lots of writing done and get your crewmates to read it and give you feedback, but yes, they should just give them several consoles and sit back. Or crew the mission with teenagers. :D

dpaterso
03-24-2010, 03:03 PM
I admire their dedication, too -- in a way.

But scientific evidence suggests that just one month in the Big Brother house is enough to reveal psychological problems.

If I were going to give up 18 months of my life, I'd prefer to be aboard the real thing, heading for Mars. Going there, having the actual objective ahead of me, would put me in a far different mindset from being imprisoned in a test lab for the same length of time.

As opposed to being tested for 18 months, and then having to give up a further 18 months for the actual mission itself.

Cue Sci-Fi ref, yet related to extremely long space mission planning. Dare I say I'm also reminded of Larry Niven's Ringworld where [minor spoiler!] Louis figures out what Prill's profession is.

-Derek

Sophia
03-24-2010, 07:10 PM
Well, the article said that an earlier test like this that was 105 days long went well. But if they still have to test the mental and physical requirements, it sounds like it's not a sure thing that psychological problems will result after a certain amount of time. And knowing it's just a test might make things harder for the cosmonauts than they would be in the real thing, so they might find that the results from this give them a comfortable buffer for what might happen. It would be interesting (if perhaps ethically impossible) to hypnotize the cosmonauts into believing it was real, and seeing what happens then. I'm sure I've read a short story that had that premise.

Of course, to make it a really thorough scientific test, they'd have to include a psychotic and ravenous alien entity in the ductwork that wakes up 100 days in.

MumblingSage
03-25-2010, 02:59 AM
If I were going to give up 18 months of my life, I'd prefer to be aboard the real thing, heading for Mars. Going there, having the actual objective ahead of me, would put me in a far different mindset from being imprisoned in a test lab for the same length of time.



For me, it would all depend on whether or not they let me bring my WIP in with me (hey, in a year and a half I might even finish it!) and whether or not I was paid for volunteering...I'm a bit mercenary. Although you have to wonder whether knowing it's only a test of their psychological state will effect the results.

GeorgeK
04-11-2010, 02:32 PM
It sounds like a waste of time and somebody's budget. There have already been many studies on isolation. I don't expect that this will add anything to that data. Now, do the study in orbit where the people are exposed to the environment that they would have to tolerate in such a space travel and then you would have some potentially new data, but hasn't that already been done too? I want to say that a few cosmonauts did it and that's how we learned about muscle atrophy, kidney stones and osteoporosis in astronauts (or rather cosmonauts, although America has done a lot of physiology short term studies in space too.)

defcon6000
04-12-2010, 06:49 AM
But it says it's a Mars simulation, so will they be conducting the same duties as they would if they were really going to Mars? (i.e. checking the mechanics of the ship, fixing any problems, watching out for alien crafts :tongue)

benbradley
04-12-2010, 08:29 AM
It sounds like a waste of time and somebody's budget. There have already been many studies on isolation. I don't expect that this will add anything to that data. Now, do the study in orbit where the people are exposed to the environment that they would have to tolerate in such a space travel and then you would have some potentially new data, but hasn't that already been done too? I want to say that a few cosmonauts did it and that's how we learned about muscle atrophy, kidney stones and osteoporosis in astronauts (or rather cosmonauts, although America has done a lot of physiology short term studies in space too.)
Men and women have regularly done something like 6 to 9 month stays on the ISS over many years, so there's plenty of physiological data on weightlessness. It would be ideal to do this test in orbit, but that would be prohibitively expensive. The time on the ISS is too valuable and should be used for research in space (which they might be doing on the way there and back on a Mars mission anyway, probably a lot of "outside the Van Allen Belt" solar wind and other research that can't be done on the ISS). Maybe they'll do another "simulation" in Earth orbit when there's a real Mars mission funded.

I thought immediately about the increasing time delay (the further you get from Earth, the more seconds it will take for a Website click to respond - how frustrating!), and it looks like they're simulating that too:

But the experiment's designers are determined to make the training exercise as realistic as possible, so they will introduce a time delay in communications after two months.
Because it can take about 20 minutes for a message to travel from Mars to Earth, it will take this amount of time in the simulation, also.
That's of course ridiculous. The time delay should be increasing as they go out, not suddenly be turned on. But maybe that's just the reporter's interpretation. I have no doubt the "actual simulation" will be correct.


Message delay
The crew and their ground controllers will send text and voice messages to each other and then have to wait for the replies.
<div class=&quot;audioImage&quot;></div> <div class=&quot;warning&quot;><p><strong>Please turn on JavaScript.</strong> Media requires JavaScript to play. </p> </div>

It means there can be no real-time conversations, not even with friends and family - and, in moments of crisis, it will mean the crew will have to make crucial decisions themselves.

Imagine 40 minutes for a web page to load!!! Oh the humanity! I just couldn't do it.

But yes, this has to be done to get an idea how people might react and if they'll crack in the real mission, rather than waiting for the real mission and tossing a few guys together into super-expensive tin cans and just hope they get along together for a year and a half...

Izz
04-12-2010, 08:37 AM
Imagine 40 minutes for a web page to load!!! Oh the humanity! I just couldn't do it.Sounds like my old dial-up connection...