Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Close, But Not Quite (MARS 500)

http://www.space.com/10848-mock-astronauts-walk-fake-mars-landing.html

This is a really cool simulation, but here's my problem with it, on the psychological level...

The people inside know that there are people on the other side of that wall that can run in a save them if a real accident happens. The stress related to that scenario isn't there, but in a space trip, it's DEFINITELY there.

So, why not do this in the Arctic, with a minimum 3 day travel distance between the outpost and any rescue attempt? At least then you mimic the travel time for the Moon. If stuff hits the fan on a Moon base, it'll be three days before any help arrives...assuming you have a standby rocket on the pad for such a scenario that can launch nearly instantly.

Psycho-social stress is one thing...being locked up with your mates for months at a time. But REAL danger stress is something even more pronounced when it comes to space travel, and this experiment completely bypasses that.

3 comments:

pac3mak3r said...

I can only speculate, i have no astronaut trainng, but isnt it similar to climbing up something really high? the first few feet are nervewracking, but after a certain point you know youre in trouble if you fall, if you climb higher or not?

Douglas Mallette said...

Yeah, point of no return. This is why I laugh when I hear people worry about supersonic maglev tube trains that can go 2,000mph. They say WHOA! That's too fast. If it crashes...

Well, if it crashes at 300mph (the speeds they have now) do you think your ass would be LESS destroyed? lol.

stryse said...

I too am hopeful for a follow-up experiment where the stakes are more real, as there are important things to understand that just aren't covered in Mars 500.

On the other hand though, I see some wisdome in doing it incrementally. Understand these more basic stresses, and then up the ante in future simulations.