View Full Version : Discussion: How To Avoid Space Madness

2004-May-19, 05:03 PM
SUMMARY: When you lock a bunch of humans in a small space for a long time, they can go a little crazy. So researchers from the Australian National University are trying to understand the dynamics that might afflict a long-term space mission, and offer some solutions to make things easier. Volunteers from the Mars Society will travel to the Australian desert, and attempt to mimic some of the conditions experienced by long-duration space travelers. The researchers will test them daily, and watch for detachment, disagreements, and see if the larger group will splinter off into smaller subgroups.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-May-19, 05:40 PM
I think they completely underestimate the psychological toughness that people have. Sailors sometimes spent years onboard their ships during the initial periods of sea exploration, and they were crammed with people. On a mars mission, we are only talking about maybe 5 or 10 astronauts in a ship with about the same living space. I think it is possible to handle.

Hey, send engineering students! We're used to being locked in our cramped dorm rooms staring at course-books all weekend, we can take it. :D

Anyway, inflatable habitats should help provide a lot of room for the astronauts to live in. And if they ever get caulostrophobic (spelling?), you could zip them up in a clear plastic bag and hang them outside the airlock until they are banging on the door to be let back in. :lol: (nothing like 360 degrees of "down" to fix that confined feeling). :lol:

You could also send navy submariners. It isn't anything that they aren't used to either. They only come up to get more food every six months or so. They're also experienced at handling reactors and dangerous equipment.

2004-May-19, 05:59 PM
I think the concern is overblown, but it could also be catastrophic for the mission if things turn ugly. Even on a submarine, you can stop at port and drop some bad apples off. On a trip to Mars, you're stuck with your crewmates.

Extra credit: what's "Space Madness" a reference to? Here's a hint... "Oh my beloved icecream bar."

2004-May-19, 07:11 PM
Extra credit: what's "Space Madness" a reference to? Here's a hint... "Oh my beloved icecream bar."

REN AND STIMPY!!!!! :D :D :D (Sorry if I ruined it for everyone else)

Anyway, I read a few months ago an article in Parade magazine where one of the reporters spent two weeks in the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. He said that the introverts in the group did quite well in keeping their head, while the others got a little stir crazy.

Being an introvert myself, I like this news.

Of course, it was only for two weeks, not the six to nine months that would be required simply for the trip out.

2004-May-19, 09:42 PM
I do think some study needs to be done. A mixed crew would probably be best for a long misssion. By the time a crew was selected for a long mission to Mars, you can bet all will be in top condition, physically and mentally. I can see why introverts would do well. Extroverts, like me, can't seem to keep their mouths shut. :) Ignoring other's weirdness would be most important in such a long journey.

2004-May-19, 09:57 PM
Hah, so much for my chances!!!

2004-May-20, 12:41 AM
This situation has "Reality Series" written all over it...

2004-May-20, 12:47 AM
Hah, that's a great idea. Someone call Mark Burnette.

John L
2004-May-20, 04:48 PM
The problem is you're not sending uneducated 16th century sailors with a commander that rules with an iron first, nor are you sending a highly disciplined modern naval submarine crew with a commander that rules with an iron fist. You're sending highly educated self-assured scientists and engineers. They will be the best in their field and they'll know it, and they won't like anyone second guessing their ideas and opinions. Of course we'll pick more evenly tempered people, but for years in close quarters and even I would start wanting to kill the guy next to me. Ren & Stimpy had it right!

2004-May-21, 12:55 AM
I think any group will splinter. It is natural. Space needs to e provided for people to get quality time alone, to wander.

My brother asked me what I though was the quickest to space from Australia, I told him the submarines, so he went there did that :)

The main reason I said that though was the Aquanautical lobbyists, who I thought were going to get the dibs on buget $s and take us to the largest remaining unexplored part of our own planet.

Great! Depleted fish stock large swaths of pollution and they want to mine the undersea!

I am so glad Bush looked up!!

SO yeah. I reckon any moon or mars mission needs space, limited as it is.

Holodecks :)

Oh and when I seriously doubt my spelling I use OneLook dictionary search (http://www.onelook.com/), or just open a word document (when I can be bothered) and use the spell check. Argh! English, the hardest language to learn, and every country makes it's own little changes, that would be fine, If I could spell properly to start with! :)

2004-May-24, 02:51 AM
Definately an extreme amount of patience would help. A therapist/moderator should be considered. :rolleyes:

Algenon the mouse
2004-May-24, 03:19 AM
Originally posted by Abell1689@May 20 2004, 12:41 AM
This situation has "Reality Series" written all over it...
It has already been done. It is called a classroom.

Didn't the Apollo and Mercury astronaunts have to undergo a test to determine whether or not they would have space madness? I think it would be easier just to test them first.

2004-May-24, 04:36 AM
The astronauts will need plenty of space, so I've designed a really big vehicle that can be initially launched in a really, really small package.

This seems simpler than studying how to cram people into tiny boxes for years and see if they can survive mentally.

Some years back, I was having lunch with Michio Shimizu, pres. of the Shimizu corporation, the company that wanted to create a large, rotating space hotel. A friend of Michio's had asked him to look at my design for a large, disk-shaped, rotating space station, and I had the plans spread out on the resturaunt table in front of us.

At one point, he mentioned that he had an idea for an experiment. He asked, "What do you think would happen if we put 6 men in a small box with very little light to simulate a long-term mission to Mars?"

Without hesitating I said, "They'd go f---ing nuts! They'd probably kill each other. I don't think you would have to do the experiment to know that."

He laughed and congratulated me, mentioning that most people actually gave it serious thought when he asked that. I guess he was trying to see if I was a yes man.

Nasa is still trying to think about it. Oh, Brother! :(