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Space & Astronomy

Sleep deprivation hit Mars simulation crew

By T.K. Randall
January 9, 2013 · Comment icon 20 comments



Image Credit: NASA
An experiment designed to simulate the conditions of a long-haul Mars trip has revealed several problems.
The Mars500 project saw 6 individuals spend more than 17 months locked within a special simulated spacecraft with the work cycle and responsibilities typical of a potential manned mission to Mars. Results from the experiment have revealed that such a mission would be far tougher on the crew than conventional trips in to space and that isolation and sleep deprivation represented key issues that the astronauts would need to be able to cope with on a long voyage.

"Two crew members coped really well with this prolonged confinement and isolation," said Professor Mathias Basner who was involved in the sleep study. "But four of them had a problem where you would think you don't want to send someone like this on the mission or if you do, you want to know that this subject is vulnerable and train him or her properly."[!gad]The Mars500 project saw 6 individuals spend more than 17 months locked within a special simulated spacecraft with the work cycle and responsibilities typical of a potential manned mission to Mars. Results from the experiment have revealed that such a mission would be far tougher on the crew than conventional trips in to space and that isolation and sleep deprivation represented key issues that the astronauts would need to be able to cope with on a long voyage.

"Two crew members coped really well with this prolonged confinement and isolation," said Professor Mathias Basner who was involved in the sleep study. "But four of them had a problem where you would think you don't want to send someone like this on the mission or if you do, you want to know that this subject is vulnerable and train him or her properly."
Some of the first results from a simulation of a mission to Mars show that some of the crew experienced isolation and mild depression.


Source: BBC News | Comments (20)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by King Fluffs 10 years ago
Riveting tale.
Comment icon #12 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
The problem is that there were no movies or fine vodka on-board. Um.... or women.
Comment icon #13 Posted by R4z3rsPar4d0x 10 years ago
I wonder if they are on "watches" ,like 4 hrs on 8 hrs off, to look after the instruments and well being of the craft. Maybe they should choose people who are comfortable being on their own for long periods, instead of people with half their minds on the work and the other half worrying about those they left behind.I think on a venture this huge you would need total concentration on what is going on around you. Yeah I would assume that they could get someone that had very little family or maybe not even a family of there own meaning people that didnt have kids or a wife
Comment icon #14 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
Yeah I would assume that they could get someone that had very little family or maybe not even a family of there own meaning people that didnt have kids or a wife Why? If you look at the history of exploration then you will see that explorers have more often than not been family men. There is a school of thought that says that explorers with family are less likely to be reckless as they won't to come home alive.
Comment icon #15 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
There is a school of thought that says that explorers with family are less likely to be reckless as they won't to come home alive. Sounds a little counter-intuitive, wouldn't you think?
Comment icon #16 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Waspie, if "won't" was meant to be "want", I retract my statement.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
Waspie, if "won't" was meant to be "want", I retract my statement. It was indeed. I shouldn't post when tired.
Comment icon #18 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Yeah, know what you mean. All is good.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Timonthy 10 years ago
It was indeed. I shouldn't post when tired. Oh cool were you one of the crew members?
Comment icon #20 Posted by Idano 10 years ago
The problem is that there were no movies or fine vodka on-board. Um.... or women. If you bring the vodka, I'll bring the lemon aid


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