Simulated mission to mars

rant by Dereck
categories: Design 20, Opinion, Space
2006-08-17 19:53:53

I read this article:

Volunteers line up for simulated mission to Mars
Five people will be eventually be selected for the study. They will spend 250 days on a simulated space trip to Mars. Then, three of the five will leave the mock spaceship for a simulated "landing on Mars" that will last 30 days. The five participants will then embark on a 240-day journey "back to Earth". They will communicate with mission control by email.

Am I the only one who is immediately reminded of The Twilight Zone? Weren't there like three episodes where a guy goes insane and it ends up being some space simulation to test the human psyche? I distinctly remember one where this guy is reduced to tears and banging on this pole or phone (or something) before it fades back to reality and he's banging on a big abort button.

Now, I do, for whatever reason, find the concept of prolonged isolation very interesting (intriguing, even). However, this is different because the time is spent with a crew. If not for my relationship with Amy, I would sign up for 520 days of isolation without putting much thought into it. I mean, at the very least, it's 520 days that I don't have to work or pay for groceries and all that.

However, spending that much time with a crew of four other people?. Oh, I think I'll pass. I know I'll pass. There's no way I could pull that off.

I honestly think the only way a crew would survive that much downtime together would be to stick to very strict professionalism. Trying to build some kind of relationship would be pointless. They're going to get on each others' nerves no matter what. To avoid that as much as possible, they should hide their personalities as much as possible.

That sounds cold, but, really, this is a job for robots. Humans are only going to stay sane and non-homicidal if they don't act human.

Twilight Zone, right?