# Encapsulating Astronauts

1. ### Integral

7,287
Staff Emeritus
The case of the crazy astronaut as got me thinking, again, about the proposed mission to Mars. Do you suppose that we can really design a space craft capable of housing x many astronauts for a multi year mission to Mars and not have a case of mass murder suicide half way there?

US Submariners typically spend 3months at a time under water, not sure how many ex submariners you know, but I know several. Those that I knew before and after their time underwater, enclosed in a steel tube with somthing like a dozen dozen other men, came back different.

Can you imagine spending yrs trapped in a small steel capsule ?

Can you imagine spending years trapped in a small steel capsule with Lisa crazy women Howak? Previously I have been told that the selection process and milatary disipline would prevent such an occurance, can we still make that claim?

Perhaps, sooner then later, we should select a crew and lock them up in a mock up of the Mars capsule just to see how long it takes for someone to go over the edge.

### Staff: Mentor

I think this is one of the key impediments to sending people to Mars using today's technology. Ignoring costs, today's technology can overcome the problems of radiation and weightlessness and safely send a crew of four to Mars and back -- but only if the crew members don't kill each other or go insane.

Older submarines had much smaller crew sizes, sometimes as few as eight or so. Those small crew sizes led to significant psychological problems. A typical submarine today has a crew of over 100 people. The psychological problems still occur, but to a lesser extent.

NASA's current astronaut selection criteria will need a drastic overhaul to keep an small-sized crew sent to Mars sane and alive. They need to look for monks with no sex drive rather than oversexed flyboys and flygirls.

3. ### Integral

7,287
Staff Emeritus
IMOH, we do not have the propulsion technology to make a big enough capsule for a multi year manned mission. Fortunately, until such a time that we can travel at a significant fraction of the speed of light we should restrict ourselves to robotic missions. Why waste time and money on a manned mission when the ONLY ability which separates the men/woman on such a mission from a robot, is that the humans can die.

Mean while we can continue to explore the solar system with robots and remote sensing.

### Staff: Mentor

Certainly NASA will have to re-evaluate the selection process of astronauts for deep space missions.

Back in the mid-80's I was part of team which looked at nuclear propulsion technology for missions to Mars. IMO, we could have been there (in 2000) and back - all within two years. However, the nation had and has other priorities.

One idea is to send a Mars orbital station (something like Skylab) ahead of the astronauts. The astronauts would then follow in a much faster orbital transfer vehicle. That is the likely scenario in the future.

5. ### Moonbear

11,955
Staff Emeritus
Even without such extreme restriction of movement, and a large number of people, the scientists who have over-wintered in Antarctica also report a high incidence of "cabin fever." They have a relatively large complex of buildings to move around in (compared to a submarine), but are also exposed to artifical light as their only daylight, still see the same people for months on end, and can't just take a walk outside to get away for a bit if the people they are around are driving them nuts.

This is why I was surprised to learn there aren't ongoing pscyhological exams for people returning from spaceflight. It's hard to predict how someone will respond to such an extreme environment and limited social interactions, and even more limited escape from those social interactions when they start getting on your nerves.

### Staff: Mentor

They could log-on to PF.

7. ### verty

1,950
I would think there should be a strict policy about what behaviour is acceptable and what not. Certainly any type of boisterous or offensive behaviour could be very annoying.

8. ### danscope

19
Dear Sirs: Consider the events unfolding in yesterdays concerning an
"Astronaut" and some hair brained triangle of sorts.
"And they want to go into space for........................................................................
.........................how long?????................Hmmmmm.....
Best regards, Dan USN ....Subs

9. ### verty

1,950
Danscope, doesn't follow. She's the first, as far as I know.

10. ### Integral

7,287
Staff Emeritus
Actually a certain amount of "of boisterous or offensive behaviour" is healthy and necessary in such conditions. What drives people crazy is the small unconscious habits we all have.

"If you clear your throat once more I am going..."

"can't you eat the carrots first just once!"

It's the little repetitive quirks that really get on your nerves.

Just like marriage, only with no relief or separation.

11. ### dontdisturbmycircles

556
I agree that I don't think I could cope being trapped with the same people for 3 years without a chance to go out and do something on my own. Perhaps they could go out and take a "space walk"?:tongue: I think I would grit my teeth and learn to live with anyone though, for the opportunity to land on mars!

I have faith that NASA can gauge a person's mental health and hopefully this Nowak case is just an anomaly.

I don't think anyone would be willing to spend a year in a capsule with no goal other than to prove that they can do it. lol

Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
12. ### vanesch

6,189
Staff Emeritus
Why not go for an intermediate solution ? We could send up dead bodies to Mars and back. For the little work they'd actually do over there, we could incorporate also a few robotic systems, that do the gathering of stones, the planting of vegetables and other stuff. At least, we d' know that the dead bodies won't cause havoc during the flight (and they consume less oxygen and food too)

### Staff: Mentor

I should have known from the title you gave this thread that you would have a strong anti-human spaceflight bias. The last time I checked, no robot has passed the Turing test. We send people into space because robots are stupid and because doing so has been a prime mandate for NASA since its inception.

I, for one, think NASA has taken a long needed shift in direction with the Exploration Initiative. Sending people into space is risky. There needs to be a significant value to the missions to make that risk worthwhile. Sending people into low-Earth orbit does not cut it. Sending people back to the Moon is a first good start.

We don't need a multi-year vehicle to send people to the Moon.

### Staff: Mentor

And there just might be some volunteers. I am sure there are some who would jump at the chance to go Mars - posthumously. :rofl:

The robots could even bury the bodies while gathering stones and planting vegetables.

15. ### Integral

7,287
Staff Emeritus
Why would a robot have to pass the touring test? The human behind the controls can certianly pass it. Further the humans controling the robot go home to their wife every night. If you want to go to Mars fine, find a commercial reason to do it, pay for it yourself. I do not think that NASA should waste our limited resourses sending toursts on glory missions into space.

I must admit however that the current generation of kids may well be able to spend years locked in a small room without a 2nd thought... just provide a high speed network connection and plenty of pop.

### Staff: Mentor

Do you really think that if the Executive and Legislative branches cancel the human space program that all of that money would flow to unmanned space programs? Get real. None of that money would go to unmanned space. They would cut space science as well. This is exactly what happened after Apollo. Moreover, it is happening right now. Congress just whacked $500 million off of NASA's FY2007 budget, including a$100 million cut in space science.

17. ### Integral

7,287
Staff Emeritus
I just went back over my posts... No where could I find any mention of such matters as you bring into this???

18. ### Ivan Seeking

12,094
Staff Emeritus
Yes, the folks who participated in the Biosphere project came out as bitter enemies. One later sabotaged the facility. Part of what caused this were the tensions that resulted from system failures.

I see no reason to send people to Mars... well, except for a select few ex-customers of mine.

### Staff: Mentor

As far as I know, the 2007 budget was adopted in an omnibus continuing resolution, which basically did not authorize the proposed budget and so FY 2007 is stuck with FY2006 budget, which means they got \$500 million less than proposed.

D_H is correct in that NASA is underfunded.

RESTRAINING SPENDING AND MANAGING FOR RESULTS
from http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2007/nasa.html
One has to read behind the lines.

The reduction in funding parallels similar reductions in many programs in medicine and science.
http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/fy07.htm

but that is less than the inflation rate ~3%.

Now compare this with Defense Appropriations for FY 2007 -
FOCUSING ON THE NATION’S PRIORITIES
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2007/defense.html