Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Psychological and sociological issues affecting space travel

Do you want to sign up for MARS ONE and be one of the first to establish a permanent settlement on Mars?
Will you be able to put up with your fellow crew members on the long trip out in confined quarters?

In the Navy I attended a 5 week leadership course where we had three men to our sleeping quarters and were subject to strict discipline requirements that had me ready to punch out one of my room mates. Gear adrift, just a feather on my bed. Continual adjustment of towels hanging on locker or checking of furniture alignment. OK, maybe a bit sensitive to boot camp requirements all over again as I was now a Chief (E7) in the Navy. Maybe I would not be of sound mind after a six month cruise to Mars in a tin can.
- LRK -

Psychological and sociological issues affecting space travel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Psychological and sociological issues affecting space travel are important to human spaceflight, particularly to long-duration expeditionary missions. Although robotic spacecraft have landed on Mars, plans have also been discussed for a human expedition, perhaps in the 2030s,[1] or as early as 2021[2] for a return mission, or even in 2018 for a 501-day flyby mission for a crew of two with no landing on Mars.[3]
A typical Mars return expedition is projected to last two to three years and may involve a crew of four to seven people,[citation needed] although shorter flyby missions of approximately one and half years with only two people have been proposed,[3] as well as one-way missions that include landing on Mars with no return trip planned.[4] Although there are a number of technological and physiological issues involved with such a mission that remain to be worked out, there are also a number of behavioral issues affecting the crew that are being addressed before such missions fly. In preparing for such an expedition, important psychological, interpersonal and psychiatric issues occurring in human spaceflight missions are under study by national space agencies and others.

MARS-500 an experiment to see how a crew might fair on a long space mission.
- LRK -

The Mars-500 mission was a psychosocial isolation experiment conducted between 2007 and 2011 by Russia, the European Space Agencyand China, in preparation for an unspecified future manned spaceflight to the planet Mars.[1] The experiment's facility was located at theRussian Academy of SciencesInstitute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow, Russia.[1]
Between 2007 and 2011, three different crews of volunteers lived and worked in a mock-up spacecraft. The final stage of the experiment, which was intended to simulate a 520-day manned mission, was conducted by a crew consisting of three Russians (Alexey Sitev, Sukhrob Kamolov, Alexander Smoleevskij), a Frenchman (Romain Charles), an Italian (Diego Urbina) and a Chinese citizen (Yue Wang). The experiment helped plan the interplanetary mission, identifying possible problems and solutions. The mock-up facility simulated the Earth-Mars shuttle spacecraft, the ascent-descent craft, and the martian surface. Volunteer crew used in the three stages included professionals with experience in fields such as engineering, medicine, biology, and human spaceflight.
The Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex (OPSEK) is the Russian successor to the International Space Station (ISS), with the primary mission of supporting deep space exploration. OPSEK is being assembled whilst attached to the ISS. Rassvet, a planned OPSEK module, arrived in orbit in 2010. All the main components of a Mars expedition would first dock at the station, before leaving for Mars.[2][3]

Lessons learned from Mars-500, not for everyone.
5 Things Russia’s Fake Mars Mission Says About Space Travel (And Office Life)

After spending 17 months in a simulated Mars-bound spaceship in Moscow, six study participants selected by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the European Space Agency have returned to the outside world with new data about how people cope with life in confined spaces—including terrestrial office cubes.
It sounds like the setup for a horror movie: Lock six people up on a confined space together for 17 months and see what happens. But the Russian Academy of Sciences and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, put together the Mars-500 project in the interests of science—and the half-dozen participants managed to avoid killing one another. 

Read more: 5 Things Russia’s Fake Mars Mission Says About Space Travel (And Office Life) - Popular Mechanics
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I didn't get to see the Canadian mini-series "Race to Mars" but it sounds like it would have given us an idea of what it would be like to go to Mars.
- LRK -

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Race to Mars is a 2007 Canadian television mini-series about a fictitious mission to Mars that is based on contemporary international research. The first part aired on Discovery Channel Canada and its High Definition channel on September 23, 2007 and the second part on September 30. It was produced in association with Galafilm Inc. William Shatnernarrates the miniseries.
A companion book of the same title, written by Dana Berry, was also published in September 2007. It was offered as a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club.
Mars Rising, a companion 6-episode documentary mini-series, aired from October 7 to October 21, 2007, using sequences shot for Race to Mars.
The four-hour mini-series begins in the year 2026, with a test lander exploding on landing. Jumping to 2029, the narrator explains the mission, 'Project Olympus' and shows the fourNTR spacecraft: Cargo lander Shirase, Mars Surface Habitat Atlantis, Mars lander Gagarin, and Crew Transfer Vehicle Terra Nova. In early 2030, the international crew of sixastronauts from the United StatesRussiaFranceCanada and Japan board Terra Nova to begin their 582 day-month journey to Mars and back. They suffer numerous equipment failures along the way, eventually traced back to fraud on the part of a subcontractor. The international team is racing against China, who have already landed a robot on Mars. The astronauts successfully land on Mars, but astrobiologist Hiromi's arm is broken by a faulty landing gear. Later, the Chinese robot finds water, but it contains too much calcium chloridefor it to contain life. Meanwhile, the crew's drilling equipment is irreparably damaged by a Martian dust devil. The crew sends an impassioned plea back to Earth to asking to allow them to cannibalize the Chinese robot lander, saying that the exploration of Mars should be for humankind and not be limited by politics.
The crew's proposal is accepted, and they redouble their drilling efforts. After days of non-stop work, they finally strike water, but crew member Hiromi is killed when pressure builds in the well causing an explosion that knocks over a beam of the drilling platform and crushes his spacesuit. After they ascend back to the main spacecraft for the journey home, the entire crew becomes gravely ill. They suspect infection by Martian microbes, but commander Rick Erwin refuses to open the seals on their Martian samples for fear of further contamination. It is discovered that carbon monoxide poisoning is the actual culprit, and they manage to deal with the problem. On final approach to Earth it is discovered that the Terra Nova's braking thrusters are malfunctioning making a safe return impossible unless repairs are carried out. After a dangerous spacewalk they repair the damage, but astronaut Antoine Hebert is nearly killed by electrocution. The mini-series ends as Olympus' crew module prepares to land and then cuts to a scene in the year 2095 to show a Mars base named for Robert H. Goddard, situated near to Hiromi's grave site.

Maybe a television series would tend to play on the sensational aspects of a long duration human mission.
Still, we have enough Earth bound examples of psychiatric effects of solitary confinement for inmates.
Even though those volunteering to go to Mars probably wouldn't be considered prisoners or be as restricted in activities, it might prove beneficial to be aware of potential problems from long term isolation. 
- LRK -

Overview: Neuropsychiatric Effects of Solitary Confinement
Stuart Grassian, M.D.

My observations and conclusions regarding the psychiatric effects of solitary
confinement have been cited in a number of federal court decisions, for example:
Davenport v. DeRobertis, 844 F.2d 1310, and Madrid v. Gomez, 889F.Supp.1146. I
prepared a written declaration for Madrid describing the medical literature and historical
experience concerning the psychiatric effects of solitary confinement and of other
conditions of restricted environmental and social stimulation. I have prepared the
general (non-institution specific) and non-redacted (non-inmate specific) portions of that
declaration into a general Statement, which I have entitled “Psychiatric Effects of
Solitary Confinement”; a copy of this statement is attached hereto. It describes the
extensive body of literature, including clinical and experimental literature, regarding the
effects of decreased environmental and social stimulation, as well as specifically,
observations concerning the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners. I offer here a
general overview of the issue:

It has long been known that severe restriction of environmental and social stimulation
has a profoundly deleterious effect on mental functioning; this issue has, for example,
been a major concern for many groups of patients including, for example, patients in
intensive care units, spinal patients immobilized by the need for prolonged traction, and
patients with impairment of their sensory apparatus (such as eye-patched or hearing
impaired patients). This issue has also been a very significant concern in military
situations and in exploration - polar and submarine expeditions, and in preparations for
space travel.

Whether it is appropriate to spend money to go to Mars is another question.
- LRK -

A space race in the developing word: India's latest mission causes controversy
By Anisha Chadha

On November 5, 2013, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a rocket that is projected to reach Mars in September 2014. The object of the mission, called the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), is to use a satellite to identify the geological source of methane that is present in the Martian atmosphere.

If India’s vessel, called Mangalyaan, successfully reaches Mars, it will be the fourth space program to achieve this feat, behind the Soviet Space Program, the U.S. Space Program (NASA), and the European Space Agency.

As the Indian government only announced the mission in 2010, the ISRO put together the project in a relatively short period of time. MOM cost just less than $75 million USD, inexpensive compared to the amount other space programs have spent on projects of this scale.

One of the reasons the ISRO was able to keep the cost of the project low was because of technological support from NASA. India is also using a less powerful rocket than could be used for the mission. The rocket will not enter the Martian orbit directly, but instead will orbit Earth before entering the trajectory that will cause it to arrive at Mars.

Thanks for looking up with me. 
- LRK -
SACRAMENTO, California Wed Oct 9, 2013 10:31pm EDT

(Reuters) - California lawmakers concerned about solitary confinement in the state's troubled prison system promised at a hearing on Wednesday to seek to reform the state's practice of keeping inmates in near-isolation for decades.

The hearing took place amid increasing attention to California's prison policies by human rights organizations, which say solitary confinement for such long periods of time is torture.

"An 8-by-10 foot cell, no human contact, no chance to see the moon or the stars or the sun, or hear the birds for years and decades? That's torture," said prisoner advocate Keith James of Los Angeles.
Solitary confinement: bad for chimps, okay for humans?
Primate Rights  
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 22, 2012Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is a key cosponsor of legislation that, among other provisions, would outlaw psychologically damaging solitary confinement for more than 500 chimpanzees caged for research in federally supported laboratories. In July the bill bipartisanly passed the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee on its way to a floor vote.

But the legislation, which also protects gorillas and other ape species if they are used for research, doesn't protect the dominant primate species, Homosapiens. Experts say at least 80,000 prison inmates are in solitary confinement in tiny cells in this country.



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