PSYCHOLOGY OF SPACE EXPLORATION (NASA): Contemporary research in historical perspective – Douglas Vakoch (ed.), 2011.


Looking back over the history of aviation, Grether remarked that despite a few contributions to military aviation in World War I, for roughly 35 years after the Wright brothers’ initial flight at Kitty Hawk, aviation and psychology pretty much went separate ways. Then, beginning with research to benefit civilians in the late 1930s and followed by a powerful military program in World War II, aviation psychology became prominent and influential. <How much different the role of psychology has been in man’s early ventures into space!> Grether wrote (Psychology and the Space Frontier, 1962). Psychological testing, he continued, was prominent in the selection of the initial 7 Mercury astronauts, and beyond selection psychologists were productively engaged in vehicle design, training, task design, and workload management.

Grether pointed to 4 areas for future research: moving about the interior of spacecraft (once they became large enough for this to occur), conducting extravehicular activities (EVAs) or <spacewalks>, performing rendez-vous, and living and working under conditions of prolonged isolation and confinement. Highly optimistic about America’s future in space, Grether foresaw a strong continuing partnership between psychology and space exploration. One of his few notes of pessimism – that it would not be possible to use the science fiction writer’s rocket gun to move from place to place during EVAs – would soon be proven wrong.”

although NASA has been forthright about medical and biological insights gained from previous spaceflights . . . the agency has been hesitant on styudying or releasing information on the psychological experience of its personnel in space. Generally, NASA has limited the access to astronauts by social science researchers, even by its own psychiatrists and psychologists; the agency has failed to capitalize [?] on the data it collected that could improve spaceflight and living for others to follow.” P.H. Harris, “Personal Deployment Systems: Managing People in Polar and Outer Space Environments”, From Antarctica to Outer Space: Life in Isolation and Confinement, ed. A.A. Harrison, Y.A. Clearwater, and C.P. McKay (NY: Springer, 1990)

Margaret Weitekamp points out how interest in high-altitude flight in the 1930s initiated research that evolved into aerospace medicine in the 1940s. Research to support pilots flying very fast and high provided basis for sending astronauts into space. The first conference with <space> in the title was prior to 1950, notes Weitekamp, but some space-oriented research was clandestine or integrated into aviation medicine and psychology in order to avoid the wrath of superiors who thought it wasteful to study Buck Rogers issues.”

In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences issued Safe Passage: Astronaut Care for Exploration Missions, prepared by the Committee on Creating a Vision for Space Medicine During Travel Beyond Earth Orbit of the Institute of Medicine of the N.A.S.. This panel of experts identified some of the medical and behavioral issues that should be resolved quickly in anticipation of a return to the Moon and a mission to Mars. This far-ranging work covers astronaut health in transit to Earth orbit and beyond, health maintenance, emergency and continuing care, the development of a new infrastructure for space medicine, and medical ethics.”

Following Apollo and the race to the Moon, NASA entered new eras in 1981, when the Space Shuttle took flight, and again in 1993, when astronauts joined cosmonauts first on Russia’s Mir space station and then on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2000. Topics such as habitability, loneliness, cultural conflicts, the need to sustain a high level of performance over the long haul, and postflight adjustment gained a degree of immediacy and could no longer be ignored.”

In their discussion of post-Apollo psychological issues, Connors and her associates noted that as missions change, so do behavioral requirements. Perhaps the most conspicuous trench are in the direction of increased crew size, diversity, and mission duration. The first round of US flights, under Project Mercury, were solo but rapidly gave way to 2-person crews with the advent of Project Gemini in 1965, followed by 3-person crews during the Apollo program. After Mercury, note Clay Foushee and Robert Helmreich, the test pilot became a less relevant model than the multi-engine aircraft commander, who not only requires technical skills but also requires human relations skills as the leader of a team. America’s first space station, Skylab, provided a <house in space> for 3-person crews; apart from occasional emergencies or visitors, 3-person crews were also typical for Soviet (1970-89) and then Russian (1990 and onwards) space stations and the ISS. Shuttles are relatively capacious and usually carry 6 to 8 crewmembers. Other than during brief visits from Shuttle crews, the ISS has been home to crews of 2 to 6 people. We suspect that later space stations will house larger crews. Although it is possible to envision huge orbiting platforms and communities on the Moon and Mars, foresseable missions are unlikely to exceed 8 people, so crews will remain within the <small group> range.

A second salient trend is toward increasing diversity of crew composition. The initial vision was for a highly diverse pool of astronaut candidates, including mountain climbers, deep sea divers, and arctic explorers, but it was military pilots who got the nod. The military remains well represented, but over the years, the astronaut corps has been expanded to include people from many different professions and a greater number of women and minorities. Further complexity was added with the Soviet guest cosmonaut program beginning in the 70s, the inclusion of international crewmembers on the Shuttle, and international missions on Mir and the ISS. Already, tourists have entered the mix, and the first industrial workers in commercial space ventures may not be far behind.

Third, initial spaceflights were measured in hours, then days. (Indeed, within each series of flights, successive Mercury and then Gemini flights were longer and longer, to establish that astronauts could withstand the long trip to the Moon.) The third Skylab crew remained on orbit 84 days. Skylab was short-lived, but the Soviets set endurance records in this area; the present record of 366 days was set by a Russian cosmonaut on Mir during a 1987-88 mission. ISS missions have usually lasted about 3 months, but individuals are staying on the Space Station for up to 6 months, as demonstrated in 2007 and 2008 by Sunni Williams and Peggy Whitson. Extended stays can also result from unexpected circumstances, such as the loss of the Shuttle Columbia, which delayed the retrieval of one crew. If and when humans go to Mars, the sheer distance may require a transit time of 2 years.”

Harvey Wichman points out that soon, spaceflight may no longer be a government monopoly and future spacefarers may require departing from the government agency form of organization that has dominated space exploration so far in favor of a private enterprise model of commercial space exploration; it will also require accommodating people who lack the qualifications of today’s astronauts and cosmonauts. In his view, society is at a historical threshold that will require a shift in how engineers, designers, flight managers, and crews perform their tasks. He illustrates some of these points with his industry-sponsored simulation study intended to gauge tourist reactions to spaceflight.

Group dynamics is a focal point for Jason Kring and Megan Kaminski, who explore gender effects on social interaction and the determinants of interpersonal cohesion (commitment to membership in the group) and task cohesion (commitment to the work at hand). Their review of the basic literature on mixed-gender groups, as well as findings from spaceflight and other extreme environments, points to the conclusion that whereas there are many benefits to mixed-gender crews (typically men and women bring different skills to the mix), the issue is multifaceted and complex and poses challenges for spaceflight operations.”

Through studying reminiscences of majority and minority participants in multinational and international missions, they test the hypothesis that multinational flights are a source of frustration and annoyance, that are not evident in the true partnerships of international flights.”

although most of the chapters in this book are authored or coauthored by psychologists and make repeated references to psychology, understanding and managing human behavior in space is an interdisciplinary effort. In essence, <spaceflight psychology> includes contributions from architecture and design, enineering, biology, medicine, anthropology, sociology, communications, and organizational studies, as well as many hybrids (such as cognitive science) and disciplines within psychology (such as environmental, social, and clinical). In a similar vein, the delivery of psychological services to astronauts involve physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, and peers, as well as psychologists.”

Our essays do not provide in-depth tratment of the interface between engineering and psychology, nor do they attend to the interface of biology and behavior, f.ex., the effects of cumulative fatigue and circadian rhythms on performance and risk. With respect to this, we note a recent chapter by Barbara Woolford and Frances Mount that described how, over the past 40 years, research on anthropometrics, biomechanics architecture, and other ergonomics issues slowly shifted from surviving and functioning in microgravity to designing space vehicles and habitats to produce the greatest returns for human knowledge.”

2. BEHAVIORAL HEALTH: Albert Harrison & Edna Fiedler

As early as the late 40s, biological specimens were launched on balloons and sounding rockets. In 1958, the Russians successfully launched a dog, Laika, who survived several days in orbit even though she could not be brought back to Earth.” “In 1958-9, America’s first primate spacefarers, 2 squirrel monkeys named Able and Baker were launched on 15-minute flights reaching an altitude of 300 miles on a 1,500-mile trajectory and were successfully recovered following splashdown.”

During the early 60s, the United States and Soviet Russia were locked in a race to the Moon, and in many ways, the 2 programs paralleled each other. In the United States, solo missions (Mercury) gave way to two-person missions (Gemini) and then to three-person missions (Apollo) that, in July of 1969, brought astronauts to the Moon.” “By the late 70s, the U.S. and Soviet programs were following different paths: Americans awaited the orbiter, or Space Shuttle, and Soviets launched a series of space stations. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan approved the development of a U.S. space station, but construction was delayed almost 15 years. President Bill Clinton approved the station as a multi-national venture, and it became the International Space Station, or ISS. Prior to its construction, American astronauts joined Russian cosmonauts on Mir

Since there were practically no studies of astronauts, researchers relied heavily on studies conducted in Antarctica, submarines and research submersibles, and simulators. Research continues in all three venues; Antarctica took an early lead and remained prominent for many years.” “Other factors that favored Antarctica were the large number of people who ventured there and that, as an international site, it offers opportunities for researchers from many different nations. By picking and choosing research locations, one can find conditions that resemble those of many different kinds of space missions, ranging from relatively luxurious space stations to primitive extraterrestrial camps.”

Compared with earlier formulations (such as mental health), behavioral health is less limited in that it recognizes that effective, positive behavior depends on an interaction with the physical and social environments, as well as an absence of neuropsychiatric dysfunction. [?] Behavioral health is evident not only at the level of the individual, but also at the levels of the group and organization. [Ô, cê jura?]”

GRINGOS: “many people strongly associate psychology with mental illness and long-term psychotherapy.”

The historian Roger Launius points out that, from the moment the astronauts were first introduced to the public in 1959, America was enthralled by the <virtuous, no nonsense, able and professional men> who <put a very human face on the grandest technological endeavor in history> and <represented the very best that we had to offer>. From the beginning, the press was never motivated to dig up dirt on the astronauts; rather, reporters sought confirmation that they embodied America’s deepest virtues. <They wanted to demonstrate to their readers that the Mercury 7 strode the Earth as latter-day saviors whose purity coupled with noble deeds would purge this land of the evils of communism by besting the Soviet Union on the world stage.>

Assim que o Homem pisou na lua não demorou muito para Clark Kent ceder a Xavier, Magneto e Wolverine na preferência mundial (ou ianque).

Michael Collins and his colleagues liked the John Wayne–type image created for the early astronauts and did not want it tarnished. Flying in space was a macho, masculine endeavor, and there were those who made an effort to reserve the term astronaut for men, referring to women who sought to fly in space as astronautrix, astro-nettes, feminauts, and space girls.”

Many kinds of workers, including those in the military and law enforcement, worry about breaches of confidentiality that have adverse repercussions on their careers. Worries about a breach of confidentiality are periodically reinforced by officials who release information despite assurances to the contrary. Efforts to protect the astronauts’ image are evident in the cordon that NASA public relations and legal teams establish to prevent outsiders from obtaining potentially damaging information, the micromanagement of astronauts’ public appearances, and the great care with which most astronauts comport themselves in public.”

A REALIDADE IMITA A ARTE: “By the beginning of the 21st century, cracks began to appear in this image.”

On the debit side of the balance sheet, members of isolated and confined groups frequently report sleep disturbances, somatic complaints (aches, pains, and a constellation of flu-like symptoms sometimes known as the space crud), heart palpitations, anxiety, mood swings including mild depression, inconsistent motivation, and performance decrements. Crewmembers sometimes withdraw from one another, get into conflicts with each other, or get into disputes with Mission Control. Eugene Cernan reports that the conflicts between the Apollo 7 crew and Mission Control were so severe that the astronauts never flew again. [ver bibliografia]” “Burrough writes that Soyuz 21 (1976), Soyuz T-14 (1985), and Soyuz TM-2 (1987) were shortened because of mood, performance, and interpersonal issues.”

After their return, some astronauts reported depression, substance abuse issues, marital discord, and jealousy.”

The Mercury astronauts lobbied aggressively to fly as pilots rather than to ride as mere passengers (<Spam in a can>) whose spacecraft were controlled from the ground.”

To get the most information from this final trip in the Apollo program, ground control in Houston had removed virtually all the slack from the astronauts’ schedule of activities and had treated the men as if they were robots. To get everything in, ground control shortened meal times, reduced setup times for experiments, and made no allowance for the fact that previous crews aboard Skylab had stowed equipment in an unsystematic manner. The astronauts’ favorite pastimes—watching the sun and earth—were forbidden.” Weick

Thus, on 27 December 1973, the Skylab 4 astronauts conducted a day-long <sit-down strike>. Cooper described the crew pejoratively as hostile, irritable, and down-right grumpy, while other writers have described the strike as a legitimate reaction to overwork.”

NASA appears to have taken the lesson to heart. In 2002,’s Todd Halvorson conducted an interview with enthusiastic ISS astronaut Susan Helms. <It’s not that the crew isn’t busy maintaining the station, testing the remote manipulator and conducting science, it’s that there remains enough time to look out the window, do somersaults in weightlessness, watch movies, and sit around chatting.>”

Many of the two dozen or so astronauts and cosmonauts interviewed by Frank White reported <overview effects>, truly transformative experiences including senses of wonder and awe, unity with nature, transcendence, and universal brotherhood.”

Studies of the mental health of cosmonauts conducted 2 or 3 years after their return to Earth found that they had become less anxious, hypochondriacal, depressive, and aggressive.”

By the mid-80s, Oleg Gazenko, head of Soviet space medicine, concluded that the limitations of living in space are not medical, but psychological.”

The Russians have experienced longer spaceflights than their American counterparts and have given considerable attention to ways of maintaining individuals’ psychological health and high morale in space . . . In the Soviet Union, the Group for Psychological Support is an acknowledged and welcomed component of the ground team. Concern over such issues as intragroup compatibility and the effects of boredom on productivity seem to be actively studied by cosmonauts and psychologists alike. There appears to be little if any loss of status associated with confirmation of psychological or social problems associated with confinement in space.”

Thus, Russians had to confront in the 70s issues that became pressing for Americans two decades later. As a result, when looking for models for a psychological support program, NASA turned to the Russian program to support cosmonauts on Mir. It is interesting that America’s international partners in space—European as well as Japanese—share the Russians’ interest in spaceflight psychology.”

NASA, chartered as a civilian space agency, initially intended to select Mercury astronauts from a relatively broad range of explorers: military and commercial aviators; mountain climbers; polar explorers; bathysphere operators [câmaras impermeáveis para mergulhos em altas profundidades oceânicas, baixadas e erguidas via cabos]; and other fit, intelligent, highly motivated individuals who had demonstrated capabilities for venturing into dangerous new areas. Strong pressure from the White House limited the pool to military test pilots.”

Furthermore, because they were under military command, they were used to taking orders and were already cleared for top-secret technology. Mercury candidates had to be under 40 years of age, have graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering, have logged at least 1,500 hours flying jet planes, and have graduated from test pilot school. Of course, they were expected to be free of disease or illness and to demonstrate resistance to the physical stressors of spaceflight, such as temperature extremes and rapid acceleration and deceleration. To fit in the cramped confines of the Mercury capsule, their height could not exceed 5 feet 9 inches [1.75m]. The first astronauts had 5 duties: survive, perform effectively, add reliability to the automated system, complement instrument and satellite observation with scientific human observation, and improve the flight system through human engineering capabilities.” “As Robert Voas and Raymond Zedekar point out, psychological qualifications fell into 2 categories: abilities and personality.” “At that time, of 508 military test pilots, 110 met the general requirements and 69 were considered highly qualified. These were invited to the Pentagon for a briefing and interviews. Then, 32 were sent to the Lovelace clinic for an extraordinary physical exam and, after certification at Lovelace, to Wright Air Development Center in Dayton, Ohio, for tests of performance under stress.”

Two of the more interesting personality and motivation studies seemed like parlor games at first, until it became evident how profound an exercise in Socratic introspection was implied by conscientious answers to the test questions <Who am I?> and <Whom would you assign to the mission if you could not go yourself?>”

After five Mercury flights, NASA officials decided that, given the absence of serious performance deficits to date, there was no need to continue exhaustive testing procedures. Although ongoing research would have provided an excellent basis for refining selection methods, by the end of 1962, NASA had prohibited research teams from collecting data on astronaut job performance, thus making it impossible to validate selection methods. At that point, according to Patricia Santy’s authoritative work, Choosing the Right Stuff: The Psychological Assessment of Astronauts and Cosmonauts, normal reluctance to participate in psychological research was transformed into <outright hostility>. Psychiatric and psychological data from the Mercury program were confiscated, and researchers were told that apart from incomplete information that had already appeared in an obscure interim report, nothing could be published about astronaut psychology. The reasons for this are not entirely clear—for example, confidentiality was a growing concern, and data that could provide a basis for invidious comparisons could work against crew morale—but Santy favors the view that <NASA became fearful that information on the psychological status and performance of their astronauts would be detrimental to the agency.> She also documents the minimal role that psychiatrists and psychologists played in the selection process from Gemini until well into the early Shuttle missions.”

in 1983, no psychological testing was involved. Rather, the approach had evolved into an entirely psychiatric process completed by two psychiatrists who separately interviewed each candidate. Whereas the original examination sought the best-qualified candidates, later procedures simply ensured that each candidate met the minimum qualifications.

Candidates were no longer rated against one another, but they were screened for various psychopathologic conditions that could be detrimental or unsafe in a space environment. (…) Neuroses, personality disorders, fear of flying, disabling phobias, substance abuse, the use of psychotropic medications, or any other psychiatric conditions that would be hazardous to flight safety or mission accomplishment were among the grounds for rejection.

Thus, a selection program that began in 1959 as a model rooted in psychiatry and clinical psychology, and in industrial and organizational psychology, had been reduced to subjective evaluation.”

The development of standardized, semistructured interviews and diagnostic criteria, aided by the work done by the Working Group on Psychiatric and Psychological Selection of Astronauts, resulted in a rewrite of NASA psychiatric standards based on the then-current American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual III and recommendations for a select-in process.” (1999)

Although these researchers developed a profile of needed knowledge, skills, and abilities, NASA’s prohibition against obtaining in-training or on-the-job performance ratings effectively killed any longitudinal or predictive validation of the proposed astronaut select-in procedures.” “To prevent coaching, the specific tests and interview content are not publicly available. The current selection process resembles the selection procedures for other high-risk jobs and incorporates highly validated tests that are quantitatively scored, along with in-depth, semistructured interviews.”

Well before Apollo astronauts set foot on the Moon, there were political pressures to increase the diversity of the astronaut corps by including women and representatives of different racial and ethnic groups. Accommodating people with different cultural backgrounds became a practical matter in the Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous, in the course of the Russian <guest cosmonaut> program, in Shuttle missions with international crews, and, of course, aboard the ISS.”

Women offered certain potential advantages over men; one of the most notable of these was their smaller size (and reduced life-support requirements), which would make them easier to lift into orbit and keep alive at a time when engineers had to fret every extra pound of weight. After word of the program’s existence leaked, it was abandoned by the Air Force and taken over by Dr. Randall Lovelace, of the same Lovelace Clinic that conducted the physicals for project Mercury. Aviatrix Jackie Cochran and her wealthy philanthropist husband, Floyd Odlum, provided funding [$$$] so that Lovelace could put the women through the same rigorous evaluation. Of the 25 women who took the physical, 13 passed. The next step in the process, which involved centrifuges and jet flights, depended on the availability of military facilities and equipment. Although it appeared that the procedures could be done at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, the ability to do so depended on NASA’s officially <requiring> and then reimbursing the testing. Since the program was unofficial (despite widespread perceptions that it was connected with NASA), the space agency did not intervene on the women’s behalf. Some of the women continued to press for further testing and flight training, and, eventually, there was a congressional hearing, but public clamor and aggressive lobbying got no results. Kennedy’s decision to place a man on the Moon before the decade was finished was interpreted by NASA to mean that it could not divert resources to sending women to orbit. But there were other barriers to women’s participation in space exploration, including the inability of some of the people in NASA’s white-male-dominated culture to conceive of women in the <masculine> role of astronaut.”

At a very basic level, it never occurred to American decision makers to seriously consider a woman astronaut. In the late 50s and early 60s, NASA officials and other American space policy makers remained unconscious of the way their calculations implicitly incorporated postwar beliefs about men’s and women’s roles. Within the civilian space agency, the macho ethos of test piloting and military aviation remained intact. The tacit acceptance that military jet test pilots sometimes drank too much (and often drove too fast) complemented the expectation that women wore gloves and high heels—and did not fly spaceships.”

In the congressional report, NASA admitted that as of the end of fiscal year (FY) 1971, of all NASA employees, only 16.6%were women and 4.6% minorities. Only 3% of the supervisors and 2.4% of the engineers were women.”

On 16 January 1978, the first female and black candidates were selected; only a few years later, in 1983, the public wildly acclaimed mission specialist Sally Ride’s orbital flight aboard Challenger.” “Despite the long road that American women and minorities traveled to prove their worth, the U.S. experience has shown that talented women and minorities, given no special treatment because of gender or ethnicity, are as adept as their white, male colleagues in the world of space.”

During the flight stage, in addition to the crew care packages and private weekly videoconferences with families, psychological support services include extensive communication with people on the ground (including Mission Control personnel, relatives, and friends), psychological support hardware and software, special events such as surprise calls from celebrities, and semimonthly videos with a behavioral health clinician. Astronauts in flight have e-mail accessibility and can use an Internet protocol phone on board the ISS to call back to Earth. As in the past, ham radio allows contact between the ISS and schools throughout the world.”


Many of our earliest myths, such as the flight of Daedalus and Icarus too close to the Sun on wings made of wax, expressed our desire to explore beyond the boundaries of Earth as well as our willingness to push current technology to its limits. Considerations by the earliest philosophers and scientists, including Archimedes, Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, or Percival Lowell, eventually generated a whole new genre of fictional literature built upon scientific extrapolations, dubbed science fiction, and gave voice to their speculations about the nature of extraterrestrial environments. Modern scientists and pioneers led by the Wright brothers, Robert Goddard, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Hermann Oberth, Wernher von Braun, Sergey Korolev, Yuri Gagarin, and Neil Armstrong pushed the boundaries of knowledge about flight and extended human inquiry beyond our terrestrial boundaries into our local and extended galactic neighborhood.”

Since there is no direct equivalent for space, all analog environments are simulations of greater or lesser fidelity along varying dimensions of interest. Some analog environments provide extremely good characterizations of expected challenges in testing equipment or hardware, e.g., environmental chambers such as the Space Shuttle mock-ups of the various decks or the cargo bay in NASA’s Weightless Environmental Training Facility (WET-F), but lack any relevance to assessing how human operators will fare psychologically or as a team.”

The tradition of publishing personal diaries and mission recounts has been similarly observed by the earliest explorers of space. Secondary analyses of historical expeditions have become increasingly popular in recent years.” Ver bibliografia ao final para várias referências.

In real-world groups that have higher degrees of structure and control, such as military teams, the command and control structure is distinctly different from the current scientist-astronaut organizational structure of space missions. Fundamental differences in group structures, such as leadership and authority, represent significant elements in whether findings from terrestrial analogs translate to future space crews.”

the tendency of crews to direct aggression toward personnel at Mission Control.”

A more recent, hybrid approach of situating research facilities within extreme environments offers a good compromise between the artificial conditions of the laboratory and the open-ended, full access of an expeditionary mission. When teams or individuals operate in extreme environments, their responses are more purely a product of either situational drivers or internal personal characteristics. To the extent that an extreme environment is well characterized and known, it gains in fidelity and allows more accurate inferences about key phenomena to be drawn. For these very reasons, Palinkas has strongly argued that the cumulative experience with year-round presence in Antarctica makes it an ideal laboratory for investigating the impact of seasonal variation on behavior, gaining understanding about how biological mechanisms and psychological processes interact, and allowing us to look at a variety of health and adaptation effects.”

One could argue that chronicles such as the Iliad and the Odyssey were early examples of more recent diaries such as those that recounted the historic race to reach the South Pole between modern polar expeditions lead by Roald Amundsen, who reached the South Pole in 1911, and Robert F. Scott, who reached the South Pole in 1912. (…) The first winter-over in Antarctica occurred during 1898–99 on board an icebound ship, the Belgica, on which Amundsen served as a second mate. A continuous presence on our furthermost southern continent has only been in place since the International Geophysical Year of 1956–7.”

Analyses of critical incidents in medical operating rooms indicate that 70% to 80% of medical mishaps are due to team and inter-personal interactions among the operating room team.”

While an emergency on the International Space Station certainly poses difficulties regarding time to rescue, one can argue that the difficulties inherent in a Mars mission or even here on Earth from the Antarctic in midwinter, where weather conditions may absolutely make rescue impossible for long periods, carry a qualitatively different psychological impact. An emergency on a mission to Mars will preclude any chance of rescue and necessitate a high degree of autonomy for the crew in making decisions without any real-time mission support. The degree to which such factors magnify the negative effects of isolation and confinement is critical to assess.”

in a study of Antarctic winter-over personnel, Palinkas found that personnel at Palmer (a small station) spent 60% of their waking hours alone and retreated to their bedrooms extensively for privacy. These behaviors could be considered fission factors as they promote withdrawal, social isolation, and distancing from one’s teammates. On the other hand, if the use of privacy served to control the amount of contact and decreased tensions and group conflict, they would be considered fusion factors. He also found that intermittent communication was a major source of conflict and misunderstanding between crews and external support personnel, a clear source of fission influence. Examples of fusion factors for this group were effective leadership styles, which played a significant role in station and crew functioning, as well as the ability to move furniture and decorate both common and private areas, which facilitated adaptation and adjustment.”

Whereas polar teams evidenced a delay interval with a marked drop in aggression until after the first quarter, with concomitant increase in homesickness, chamber teams displayed a steady gradual increase in coping over time. A number of researchers have noted that it is not the site that seems to matter, but rather it is the differences in the mission profiles, e.g., tasks (daily achievement of a distance goal versus stationkeeping) or duration (short versus long).”

Similarly, an apparently adaptive personality profile has emerged from winter-overers that is characterized by low levels of neuroticism, desire for affection, boredom, and need for order, as well as a high tolerance for lack of achievement, which would fit well in an environment where isolation and confinement prevented accomplishments and the participants experienced frequent short-ages and problems.”

The expedition may be intended to recreate experiences of earlier explorers, such as the Polynesian Kon-Tiki oceanic traverse; set records or discover new territory, e.g., discover a route to India or explore a cave system; achieve personal challenges, such as climbing mountains or skiing to the North Pole; conduct scientific research, e.g., by means of ocean-going research vessels or polar ice drilling teams; or conduct commercial exploration, such as mineral and oil exploration.”

Voyages of scientific discovery began in the late 18th century, an age, Finney points out, that many have argued foreshadowed the space race of the 1960s. The first exploratory voyage to include scientists as crew and mission goals with explicit scientific objectives instead of commercial goals that serendipitously collected science data was the 3-year-long English expedition of the Endeavour to Tahiti, 1768–71, led by Captain James Cook. The on-board scientists were tasked to observe the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun to provide data needed to calculate the distance between Earth and the Sun. The success of the Endeavour’s expedition led to a 2nd expedition, which sailed with a number of scientists, 2 astronomers, and a naturalist, an expedition that, in contrast to the first, was rife with contentious relationships between the seamen and the scientists. Subsequent voyages with scientists on board were similarly plagued by conflicts between those pursuing scientific goals and those tasked with the piloting and maintenance of the ship.”

Not until a hundred years after Cook, in 1872, would the Royal Navy’s Challenger, a 3-masted, square-rigged, wooden vessel with a steam engine, sail around the world with 6 marine scientists and a crew and captain who were totally dedicated to the research.”

Such troubles were not limited to the English. The French followed a similar pattern, beginning in 1766 and continuing through 1800, when scientists sailed with numerous expeditions that were summarily characterized by conflict and contention between the crews and scientists. Finney further notes that such complaints are found in journals of early Russian scientists, as well as American scientists on the 4-year-long United States Exploring Expedition that sailed from Norfolk in 1838 with a contingent of 12 scientists.

Modern development of specialized ships complete with laboratories and equipment dedicated to oceanographic research has been primarily organized and maintained by universities and oceanographic institutes. Yet even aboard these dedicated floating research vessels, conflict between the ship’s crew and the scientists whom they serve has not been eliminated. A dissertation study conducted by a resident at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography during 1973 concluded that tension between the 2 groups was inevitable because they formed two essentially separate and distinct subcultures with different values and goals, as well as different educational backgrounds and class memberships.”

If space research were to be made as routine to the extent that ocean research now is, subcultural differences, and hence tensions, between scientist and those pilots, station-keepers, and others whose job it will be to enable researchers to carry out their tasks in space may become critical considerations. If so, space analogues of the mechanisms that have evolved to accommodate differences between scientists and seamen aboard oceanographic ships may have to be developed.”

An example of how examination of the records from past expeditions contributes to the current state of knowledge and provides the impetus for future studies in space can be seen in a metastudy by Dudley-Rowley et al. that examines written records from a sample of space missions and polar expeditions for similarities and differences in conflicts and perceptions of subjective duration of the mission. Ten missions were compared across a number of dimensions. The metastudy included 3 space missions that represented both long- and short-duration mission profiles: Apollo 11 (1969) and Apollo 13 (1970), ranging from 6 to 8 days apiece, and Salyut 7 (1982), which lasted over 200. Four Antarctic expeditions were included: the western party field trip of the Terra Nova Expedition (1913, 48 days), an International Geophysical Year (IGY) traverse (1957–58, 88 days), the Frozen Sea expedition (1982–84, 480 days), and the International Trans-Antarctic expedition (1990, 224 days). Finally, 3 early Arctic expeditions were also included: the Lady Franklin Bay (1881–84, 1,080 days), Wrangel Island (1921–23, 720 days), and Dominion Explorers’ (1929, 72 days). Seven factors emerged that seemed to coincide with the subjectivization of time and the differentiation of situational reality for the crews from baseline:

1. increasing distance from rescue in case of emergency (lessening chances of <returnability>);

2. increasing proximity to unknown or little-understood phenomena (which could include increasing distance from Earth);

3. increasing reliance on a limited, contained environment (where a breach of environmental seals means death or where a fire inside could rapidly replace atmosphere with toxins);

4. increasing difficulties in communicating with Ground or Base;

5. increasing reliance on a group of companions who come to compose a micro-society as time, confinement, and distance leave the larger society behind, in a situation where innovative norms may emerge in response to the new sociophysical environment;

6. increasing autonomy from Ground’s or Base’s technological aid or advice; and

7. diminishing available resources needed for life and the enjoyment of life.”

The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition [ao Ártico, que durou de 1881 a 1884] suffered 18 deaths of its complement of 25, and the rest were starving when found. The Wrangel Island expedition [idem, porém de 1921 a 23] suffered 4 deaths out of its crew of 5. Apollo 13 was a catastrophe that was remarkable in its recovery of the crew intact. The Salyut 7 mission [espacial, 1982, 200 dias], the Terra Nova western field party [1913, 48 dias na Antártida], and the Apollo 11 mission all had high degrees of risk.”

the presence of similar factors in space and early polar exploration that contributed to perceptions of mission/expedition duration or of how their situational reality deviates from baseline is important to note. These results suggest that as control over their environment decreases, team members’ subjective experiences of time and the situation increasingly differ from their baselines.”

Initially, it was believed that space would represent a significant loss of normal sensory stimulation due to isolation from people, reduction in physical stimulation, and restricted mobility. Thus, sensory deprivation chambers were argued to be good analogs for astronauts. Selection procedures, therefore, included stints in dark, small, enclosed spaces for several hours to observe how potential astronauts handled the confinement and loss of perceptual cues. As Dr. Bernard Harris, the first African American to walk in space, recounts, <They put me in this little box where I couldn’t move or see or hear anything. As I recall, I fell asleep after a while until the test ended.>

The first systematic attempts to investigate psychological adaptation factors to isolation and confinement in simulated operational environments were conducted in the 60s and early 70s by putting volunteers in closed rooms for several days, subjecting them to sleep deprivation and/or various levels of task demands by having them complete repetitive research tasks to evaluate various aspects of performance decrements. Chamber research, as it was to become known, encompassed a variety of artificial, constructed environments whose raison d’être was control over all factors not specifically under study. Later, specially constructed confinement laboratories such as the facility at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine or simulators at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama; the McDonnell Douglas Corporation in Huntington Beach, California; or Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, housed small groups of 3 to 6 individuals in programmed environments for weeks to months of continuous residence to address a variety of space-science-related human biobehavioral issues related to group dynamics”

The epitome example of chamber research may be the series of 4 hyperbaric-chamber studies, sponsored by the European Space Agency and designed to investigate psychosocial functioning, in which groups were confined for periods lasting from 28 to 240 days.” “However, skepticism regarding the verisimilitude of studies in which discontented members can simply quit has continued to raise real concerns as to how generalizable the findings from chamber studies are to space missions.”

Occupying the middle ground between traditional expeditionary missions with moving trajectories and the artificiality of laboratory spaces designated as space station habitats are capsule habitats, sharing the controlled, defined enclosure of the laboratory situated within an extreme unusual environment (EUE). Characterized by a controlled, highly technological habitat that provides protection and life support from an environment that is harsh, dangerous, and life-threatening, capsule habitats occupy a wide range of environments. Some are true operational bases with missions in which biobehavioral research is only secondary. Others run the gamut from fundamental <tuna can> habitats with spartan support capabilities situated in locations of varying access to a full-fidelity Antarctic base constructed solely for the purposes of biobehavioral space analog research.”

Due to their high military relevance, the best-studied of capsule habitats are submarines. As an analog for space, submarines share a number of common characteristics: pressurization concerns (hyperpressurization for submarines and loss of pressurization for space), catastrophic outcomes for loss of power (e.g., the inability to return to the surface for submarines and degraded orbits for space), dependence on atmosphere revitalization and decontamination, radiation effects, and severe space restrictions. Prenuclear submarine environments were limited in the duration of submersions (72 hours), crew size (9 officers and 64 enlisted men), and deployment periods without restocking of fuel and supplies. Structurally, these short-duration mission parameters mimicked those of the early years of space, albeit with vastly larger crews. With the launch of the nuclear-powered Nautilus in 1954, the verisimilitude of the submersible environment as an analog for long-duration space missions was vastly improved. With the nuclear submarine, mission durations were extended to 60 to 90 days, crews were increased to 16 officers and 148 enlisted men, and resupply could be delayed for months.”

An extension of the submersible operational environment of a military submarine is the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations program (NEEMO) being conducted in the Aquarius underwater habitat situated off Key Largo, Florida—the only undersea research laboratory in the world. Owned by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and operated by the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on behalf of NOAA, Aquarius is the submerged analog to NOAA oceanic research vessels. First deployed in 1988 in the U.S. Virgin Islands and relocated to Key Largo in 1992, the underwater facility has hosted more than 80 missions and 13 crews of astronauts and space researchers since 2001. Aquarius provides a capsule habitat uniquely situated within an environment that replicates many of the closed-loop constraints of the vacuum of space, a hostile, alien environment that requires total dependency on life support; poses significant restrictions to escape or access to immediate help; and is defined by limited, confined habitable space and physical isolation. The complexity of NEEMO missions further parallels space missions in their mission architecture, with similar requirements for extensive planning, training, control, and monitoring via an external mission control entity. However, it has only been the most recent NEEMO missions in which stress, fatigue, and cognitive fitness, as well as individual and intrapersonal mood and interaction, have been the focus of study.”

While there are other polar bases in the Arctic and subarctic, the bulk of sustained psychological research has been conducted in Antarctica. (…) There are 47 stations throughout the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions, operated by 20 different nations, with populations running from 14 to 1,100 men and women [!!] in the summer to 10 to 250 during the winter months. The base populations vary from mixed-gendered crews to male-only crews, from intact families (Chile) to unattached singletons, for assignments that last from a few months to 3 years.

In 1958, after the IGY (1956–57) produced the 1st permanent bases in Antarctica, C.S. Mullin, H. Connery, and F. Wouters conducted the first systematic psychological study of 85 men wintering over in Antarctica. Their study was the first of many to identify the Antarctic fugue state later dubbed the <big-eye>, characterized by pronounced absent-mindedness, wandering of attention, and deterioration in situational awareness that surfaced after only a few months in isolation.” “Those that did address psychosocial factors tended to focus on the negative or pathological problems of psychological adjustment to Antarctic isolation and confinement, with persistent findings of depression, hostility, sleep disturbance, and impaired cognition, which quickly came to be classified as the <winter-over syndrome>.”

One of Antarctica’s most prolific researchers, Dr. Larry Palinkas has analyzed 1,100 Americans who wintered over between 1963 and 2003 over four decades of research [uma vida inteira na região mais remota do planeta!] in Antarctica and proposed 4 distinct characteristics to psychosocial adaptation to isolation, confinement, and the extreme environment” “Crews with clique structures report significantly more depression, anxiety, anger, fatigue, and confusion than crews with core-periphery structures.”

Palinkas found that a depressed mood was inversely associated with the severity of station physical environments—that is, the better the environment, the worse the depression—and that the winter-over experience was associated with reduced subsequent rates of hospital admissions.”

Dome C is one of the coldest places on Earth, with temperatures hardly rising above –25°C in summer and falling below –80°C in winter. Situated on top of the Antarctic plateau, the world’s largest desert, it is extraordinarily dry and supports no animals or plants. The first summer campaign lasted 96 days, from 5 November 2005 until 8 February 2006, with 95 persons participating. The 2006 season included 7 crewmembers with 2 medical experiments and the first 2 psychological experiments sponsored by the European Space Agency for which the crew acted as subjects during their stay. The 2 experiments investigated psychological adaptation to the environment and the process of developing group identity, issues that will also be important factors for humans traveling to Mars.”

4. PATTERNS IN CREW-INITIATED PHOTOGRAPHY OF EARTH FROM THE ISS—IS EARTH OBSERVATION A SALUTOGENIC EXPERIENCE? Julie A. Robinson, Kelley J. Slack, Valerie A. Olson, Michael H. Trenchard, Kimberly J. Willis, Pamela J. Baskin & Jennifer E. Boyd

John Glenn, the first U.S. astronaut in orbit, talked NASA into letting him carry a camera on Friendship 7 on 20 February 1962. (…) Glenn proceeded to describe each of the 3 sunrises and sunsets he saw during the flight, and he continues to recount that experience in interviews today. A number of the astronauts who have followed have verbally recounted emotional experiences related to seeing and photographing Earth, and several astronauts have documented in written form their responses to views of Earth linked to their photography activities while in space.”

First of all, there’s the astounding beauty and diversity of the planet itself, scrolling across your view at what appears to be a smooth, stately pace . . . I’m happy to report that no amount of prior study or training can fully prepare anybody for the awe and wonder this inspires.” Kathryn D. Sullivan

All the imagery is archived in a searchable online database maintained by the descendant of the previous programs on the International Space Station, CEO, which provided statistics summarized here. Over 2,500 photographs of Earth were taken by Mercury and Gemini astronauts. Apollo astronauts photographed both Earth and Moon views, with over 11,000 photographs taken, and have been credited with initiating the interest in Earth observations from space. Handheld photography of Earth by astronauts on Skylab accompanied the extensive imagery obtained by an automated multispectral camera system. Over the 3 Skylab missions, crewmembers took around 2,400 images of Earth, and the automated camera systems an additional 38,000 photographs with specialized films.

Building from this experience and the growing interest in Earth observations from space, a program called the Space Shuttle Earth Observations Project (SSEOP) was established in 1982 to support the acquisition and scientific use of Earth photography from Space Shuttle flights.”

Astronauts were trained in geology, geography, meteorology, oceanography, and environmental change for a total of approximately 12 instructional hours prior to flight. Also before flight, about 20 to 30 sites were chosen for the crew to photograph while on orbit. The mission-specific sites were chosen from a list of previously identified environmentally dynamic terrestrial areas visible from the Space Shuttle. Each crew was given a preflight manual consisting of their unique sites that included photographs and scientific information. The decision on when to take photographs was at the astronauts’ discretion. A list of targets was sent to the Shuttle crew on a daily basis during the flight. The main camera used for Earth observation was the 70-millimeter Hasselblad with the 50-, 100-, 110-, and 250-millimeter lenses commonly used, and both color and infrared film was made available per crew preference.” “To date, Shuttle crewmembers have captured over 287,000 images of Earth.”

Although SSEOP was dissolved, individual Shuttle crewmembers on missions to the ISS could still use the on-board cameras to take images of Earth, but without scientific support.”

The digital camera was favored by ISS crews over the film cameras because it allowed them to review their imagery while on orbit. The immediate review of their imagery enabled the crews to view and improve their photographic techniques. Digital images could also be down-linked to the CEO scientists for review, and the scientists in turn could provide feedback to the crew. The issue of film versus digital cameras was settled in 2003 when mission length was extended to about 6 months. The extension of crew time on orbit made film more susceptible to radiation ‘fogging’. While digital cameras are not immune to radiation, they are better able to cope with longer exposures to the space environment, and eliminating the need to return film to Earth was also an important improvement.”

With the use of the 400-millimeter lens and 2× extender available for the digital camera, ISS crews have been able to document dynamic events at a higher resolution than was possible from the Shuttle with the 250-millimeter lens.”

JURO QUE NÃO ENTENDO ESSA OBSESSÃO: “A particular concern is maintaining crew psychological well-being for the duration of a round-trip mission to Mars that could last as long as 3 years.

Positive (or ‘salutogenic’) experiences while in space may promote psychological well-being by enhancing personal growth and may be important for offsetting the challenges of living and working in a confined and isolated environment. In a survey of flown astronauts aimed at identifying the positive or salutogenic effects of spaceflight, Eva Ihle and colleagues identified positive changes in perceptions of Earth as the most important change experienced by astronauts.

If viewing Earth is an important component of positive experiences in spaceflight, then having Earth ‘out of view’ may be an important challenge for crews going to Mars because it could increase the sense of isolation.” De novo isso? Ora, leve cada um uma foto do Blue Planet na ‘carteira’!

Typically, crewmembers have fewer set tasks to accomplish on weekends, so they have increased periods of time in which they can choose their activities.” É fim de semana aqui na lua!

While the term phasing is more general, the term third-quarter effect specifically refers to a period of lowered psychological well-being during the third quarter of an extended confinement.”

The cameras automatically record the date and time when the photograph was taken, as well as specific photographic parameters. The data do not identify the individuals using the camera, as any crewmember may pick up any camera to take pictures, and individuals often stop briefly at a window to take pictures throughout the day. Crews are cross-trained in the use of the imagery equipment. Some crews share the responsibility of taking images of Earth; in other crews, one member might have more interest and thus be the primary photographer. Regardless, crewmembers report photographing areas known to be of interest to fellow crewmembers.” “Occasionally, battery changes and camera resets were conducted on orbit without resetting the date and time on the camera. Because of this, not all camera time stamps were accurate. We screened those data for inaccuracies (such as an incorrect year for a specific expedition), and these records were eliminated from the analyses.”

The use of the 800-millimeter lens was tracked because it represents a significant skill that requires much effort to achieve the best results, and the resulting images provide the most detail (up to 6-meter spatial resolution).” O que isso significa exatamente? Que o zoom com nitidez vai até um pixel representar 6m? Ou que é como se a fotografia fosse tirade da altura de 6m de uma camera comum ou, enfim, semipro? A segunda possibilidade parece ser improvável, então vamos com a 1ª caso o texto não esclareça mais à frente!

Dados estatísticos para o estudo analisados pelo SAS (mesmo programa que estou aprendendo a usar no meu trabalho!).

From December 2001 (Expedition 4) through October 2005 (Expedition 11), crewmembers took 144,180 images that had accurate time and date data automatically recorded by the camera. Of time-stamped photographs, 84.5% were crew-initiated and not in response to CEO requests.”

A crew containing a member, for example, whose childhood home was in a small town in Illinois, would be more likely to take images of that area than of areas not holding personal significance for any member of that crew.”

Foi possível fotografar a Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco) como se sua largura fosse da espessura da metade do meu dedo mindinho. Mas mais impressionantes ainda são as fotos de picos no Alaska, que parecem laterais e não panorâmicas, provavelmente devido à proximidade do pólo da Terra!

Earth photography is clearly a leisure activity. However, crews are more likely to take self-initiated images as the mission progresses—perhaps due to acclimation and familiarity with life and duties on the Station or a growing realization that their time in space, and thus their ability to photograph Earth from space, is limited. This trend over the duration of the mission was the only mission phasing observed. A more careful examination of figure 3 suggests that the phasing effect might be due more to individual differences pertaining to specific missions or perhaps to an increasing competency with the photographic equipment. It is not clear to what extent this phasing effect might reflect differences in mission profiles or characteristics of the particular crewmembers assigned to the particular missions.”

As we begin to plan for interplanetary missions, it is important to consider what types of activities could be substituted. Perhaps the crewmembers best suited to a Mars transit are those individuals who can get a boost to psychological well-being from scientific observations and astronomical imaging.” Deixe de ver a Terra e então você terá um derrame logo (Desmond Effect)!


In the 47 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space and the first person to orbit Earth, several hundred cosmonauts and astronauts have successfully flown in space. Clearly, there is no longer any doubt that people can live and work successfully in space in Earth orbit. This ability has been demonstrated in spacecraft as tiny as the Mercury capsules, in Space Shuttles, and in various (and much more spacious) U.S. and Soviet/Russian space stations. Spending up to half a year in space with a small group of others is no longer unusual. However, plans are afoot to return to the Moon and establish a permanent settlement there and then to proceed to Mars. Big challenges are on the horizon, and their likely success is predicated on 3 historical series of events: first, the long series of successes in Earth-orbital flights since the launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957; second, the 6 successful excursions of Apollo astronauts on the Moon; and third, the success-ful robotic landings to date on Mars.”

is there any chance that space tourism, with a much more fluid social structure and a vastly broader spectrum of participants than in the current space program, will work at all?”

New “extreme environment” since 2020: our houses!

The density intensity hypothesis stated that whatever emotion is extant when crowding occurs will be enhanced by the crowding. Crowding per se is not necessarily aversive. This was a nonintuitive but valuable finding. This phenomenon can be witnessed at most happy social gatherings. A group of people may have a whole house at their disposal, but one would seldom find them uniformly distributed about the premises. It is much more likely that they will be gathered together in 2 or 3 locations, happily interacting in close proximity. The reverse of this is also true, as can be seen in mob behavior, where the crowding amplifies the anger of the members.”

In the early days of the space program, when anecdotal studies of life in extreme environments such as submarines were all we had, these studies proved valuable and served us well. But spaceflight simulators can be used to create situations more specific to spaceflight and do so in a laboratory setting in which extraneous variables can be much better controlled.

Of course, spaceflight simulators on Earth cannot simulate weightlessness. That is unfortunate because the higher the fidelity of the simulator, the better the transfer to real-world situations. We have seen in aviation that extremely high-fidelity flight simulators can be so effective for training that airline pilots transitioning to a new airplane can take all of their training in a simulator and then go out and fly the airplane successfully the first time.”

Since there have been few such studies involving civilian participants, the general public knows little of what goes on in such a study. Therefore, I will describe a study conducted in my laboratory that will demonstrate how simulator studies can address both applied and theoretical research questions.”

McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (now Boeing Space Systems) in Huntington Beach, California, was in the process of developing a new, single-stage-to-orbit rocket to replace the Space Shuttles. This vehicle would take off vertically the way the Shuttles do, but instead of gliding in for a landing, it would land vertically using the thrust of its engines the way the Moon landers did in the Apollo program. The rocket, which was to be called the Delta Clipper, was first conceived of as a cargo vehicle. Soon, engineers began thinking about having both a cargo bay and, interchangeable with it, a passenger compartment. The passenger compartment was to accommodate 6 passengers and a crew of 2 for a 2-day orbital flight. Former astronaut Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad was then a vice-president of McDonnell Douglas Aerospace and a key player in the development of the Delta Clipper. At the time, all of the McDonnell Douglas designers were fully occupied with work under a NASA contract on the design of what would eventually become the International Space Station.”

remember that when orbiting Earth, one is in darkness half the time”

Once the passenger compartment design was satisfactorily completed, there was considerable excitement among the McDonnell Douglas engineers about the idea of taking civilian passengers to space (no one spoke words such as ‘space tourism’ yet at that time). The designers were excited about such ideas as not putting full fuel on board the vehicle for orbital flight but keeping it lighter, adding more passengers, remaining suborbital, and flying from Los Angeles to Tokyo in 40 minutes or Los Angeles to Paris in 38 minutes. However, when the euphoria of the daydreaming was over, the Delta Clipper team was left with the question, can you really take a group of unselected, relatively untrained civilians; coop them up in a cramped spacecraft for 2 days of orbital spaceflight; and expect them to have a good time?”

We accepted the challenge and built a spaceflight simulator in our laboratory that had the same volume per person as the one designed for the Delta Clipper”

Planta do simulador-laboratório

The Delta Clipper team wanted to know whether people such as those we would select could tolerate being enclosed in a simulator for 45 hours, whether this experience could be an enjoyable space vacation adventure, and whether anything could be done prior to a flight to ensure a high quality of interpersonal interactions among the participants during the flight.”

we decided to conduct 2 simulated flights with equivalent groups. The flights would have to be essentially identical except that one group (the experimental group) would get pre-flight training in effective group behavior techniques, and the other group (the control group) would spend the same preflight time in a placebo treatment without group training.”

Participants soon were oblivious to being observed, as was often demonstrated when an observer on the outside would be startled by a participant suddenly using the one-way window as the mirror it appeared to be on the inside.

In an effort to recruit participants who would approximate the kinds of people who might book a spaceflight, we contacted a travel company that booked adventure travel tours such as to Antarctica and got from them the demographics of the people who book such tours. We then advertised in a local paper for volunteers to act as participants in a simulated space ‘vacation’. Those applying would have to commit to participating for 48 hours, from 5p.m. on a Friday evening until 5p.m. on the following Sunday evening. Six passengers were selected for each of the 2 groups: they ranged in age from 34 to 72, half of them were men and half were women, and each group had one married couple. In addition, each group had its own 2-membercrew, a white male and a black female. We knew of no spaceflight simulation study that involved such diversity of age, gender, and ethnicity involving civilians resembling those who might one day be involved in space travel. Participants wore their own light sport clothing and soft slippers or warm socks because, as they were informed, in space, where people will be floating about and might bump into others or delicate equipment, shoes would not be worn. The crewmembers were mature college students who were recruited and trained ahead of time. They wore uniforms similar to NASA-type coveralls. They were unaware of the fact that there were 2 groups and of the variables being studied.

Observers were trained to a high degree of reliability to observe the groups at all times. The analytical system used was the Bales Interaction Analysis technique. Using operationally defined criteria, the observers measured whether interpersonal interactions, both verbal and nonverbal (e.g., postures, gestures, and expressions), were positive, neutral, or negative.

During their duty shifts, the observers each monitored the behavior of 2 participants. An observer would monitor 1 participant for a 1-minute period, assign a score, and then switch to the other participant for a 1-minute period and assign that person a score. Then it was back to the first person for a minute and so on until the end of the shift.”

A simulator is, in a way, equivalent to a stage set. If it looks sufficiently like a spaceship and has the sounds and smells of a spaceship, and if the things that take place within it are those that take place in spaceflight, then the participants, so to speak, ‘buy into it’ and experience the event as a spaceflight. Our spaceflight simulator seems to have worked very well in this respect. Loudspeakers produced sounds mimicking those in Space Shuttles and were kept at amplitudes similar to the Shuttle averages (72 decibels). For lift-off and touchdown, very loud engine exhaust vibration and sound were produced by large, hidden speakers.

Because the participants in the simulator did not float about in weightlessness as they would in orbit, we had to have bunks for them to sleep in.” Bom saber que astronauta não tem cama!

During the simulated lift-off and insertion into orbital flight, the participants remained strapped in their bunks. The participants reported in postflight questionnaires that they felt they really had a sense of what a spaceflight would be like—that they often forgot that this was ‘make believe’ and that they ‘really were living the real experience’, to quote 2 of the participants.”

The passengers had unstrapped from their bunks and were assembled in their seats facing forward toward the window area. Mission Control advised that they were preparing to remotely retract the radiation shield over the window and that everyone would soon have a view of Earth from space. By watching the changing postures of the participants, observers could easily see that tension was mounting during the 10-second countdown. Suddenly, a view of Earth taken from one of the Shuttle flights filled the window (actually a 27-inch television screen). One participant gasped and placed her hand to her mouth while staring at the scene.”

Exit from the simulator was delayed in both flights because the participants took the unplanned-for time to trade telephone numbers and addresses before leaving. People who came to the experiment as strangers left as friends. Participants’ moods during the simulated flights remained positive, and the number of negative interactions in both groups was small. In the year following the study, my lab received so many telephone calls from participants in both groups requesting a reunion that we felt compelled to go back to McDonnell Douglas and request that they sponsor such an event. They did, and it was a very well-attended, robust party.”

For months after the experiment, the lab kept receiving calls from participants requesting answers to all sorts of space questions. It seemed that now that they were perceived by others as authorities on space, people called to ask space-related questions of them. When they could not answer them, they turned to us for the answers. What is important here is that this post-simulation experience gave us the opportunity to see how this simulation had changed the participants’ lives in a positive, space-related way.”

In the postflight questionnaires, the participants of both flights indicated that the discussions with Mission Control while flying were the favorite parts of the trip. Very clearly, the participants enjoyed the spaceflight aspects of the simulation very much. All of the subsystems of the simulator worked as planned. No extraneous variables intruded, such as outside noises. From the standpoint of the equipment, the experiment was uneventful.

Just before entering the simulator, the experimental group received a 2-hour-long program designed to enhance interpersonal prosocial behavior. It was designed much like the type of program corporations provide for their executives in order to develop team building and enhance effective workplace interactions.” Então não serviu pra nada!

In our simulations, the experimental group index of amicability was 44.3. The control group had an index of amicability of 14.8. Thus, using the difference in index of amicability between the 2 groups as a measure of the efficacy of the preflight training, we find a very large improvement in social functioning of 299% from a small investment of 2 hours in a training program.” “We found that our short-duration experimental study corroborated the findings of both the long-duration experimental studies and the anecdotal studies.”

As the history of spaceflight unfolds, I contend that now we are at a transition point between the exploratory and settlement stages of spaceflight that is similar to the opening of the American West in the United States. The early exploration of the West was conducted by a relatively few brave and hardy explorer sorts with an emphasis on daring and pushing back frontiers. There was much ambiguity about the challenges and dangers that lay in uncharted territory. These beginning forays into the unknown were followed by the incursion of hardy trappers, hunters, miners, and various tradesmen. Settlers soon followed, and eventually tourists did as well. In parallel with the western movement of people, technology was improving to facilitate the western expansion—transportation evolved from stage coaches and Conestoga wagons to steamboats and trains.” Comparação grosseira. Um bando de covardes com pólvora, isso que eram os americanos ‘colonizadores territoriais’…

space vehicles are currently very noisy. The noise is due to the fact that warm air does not rise in weightless environments. Without convection currents, any air that is to be moved must be moved mechanically. The large number of fans and bends in ductwork create much of the noise.” “This [72db] is about like driving a car at 100 kilometers per hour (kph) with the windows rolled down. By comparison, a living room on Earth would be about 45db.”

As this paper is being written, the European Space Agency has just issued a worldwide invitation for volunteers to participate in a 520-day simulated Mars mission.” Loucura e estultícia!



Estou cansado! Já não há nenhuma idéia nova há ALGUNS artigos, e estou somente no sexto! Mau sinal, mau sinal… Só se fala em MARTE, MARTE, MARTE… MARTEla outra tecla, Houston!

7. FLYING WITH STRANGERS: Postmission Reflections of Multinational Space Crews: Peter Suedfeld, Kassia Wilk & Lindi Cassel

Long before technology made real space voyages possible, fictional explorations can be traced to the myth of Daedalus and Icarus and its counterparts in other traditions, to the writings of Cyrano de Bergerac, and eventually to the imaginations of Jules Verne and the multitude of early-20th-century science fiction writers.” Depois disso (principalmente na segunda metade do XX, i.e., desde que existe a Nasa) o ser humano perdeu a criatividade.

The first decades of human spaceflight were a series of competitions between the Soviet Union and the United States: who would be the first to launch an orbiting spacecraft, a piloted spacecraft, a space crew, a Moon rocket, a space station . . . . Flights were scheduled to preempt media publicity from the competition. Temporary victory veered from one bloc to the other, with each claiming—or at least implying—that being momentarily ahead in the race was proof of the superiority of its political and economic system, just as Olympic gold medals were (and are) risibly interpreted as markers of national quality.”




AFTERWORD. FROM THE PAST TO THE FUTURE: Gro Mjeldheim Sandal & Gloria Leon



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Dunmore, French Explorers of the Pacific, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965).

Greely, Three Years of Arctic Service: An Account of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition of 1881–1884, and the Attainment of the Farthest North (New York: Scribner, 1886).

Harrison, Spacefaring: The Human Dimention (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

Lebedev, Diary of a Cosmonaut: 211 Days in Space (College Station, TX: Phytoresource Research, Inc., 1988).

Linklater, The Voyage of the Challenger (London: John Murray, 1972).

Lovell & Kluger, Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 (New York: Pocket Books, 1994).

Mears & Cleary, “Anxiety as a Factor in Underwater Performance,” Ergonomics 23, no. 6 (1980): 549.

Pearce, “Marooned in the Arctic: Diary of the Dominion Explorers’ Expedition to the Arctic, August to December 1929,” in: Northern Miner (Winnipeg, MB, 1930).

Petrov, Lomov, & Samsonov, eds., Psychological Problems of Spaceflight (Moscow: Nauka Press, 1979).

Ryan, The Pre-Astronauts: Manned Ballooning on the Threshold of Space (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995).

Stefansson, The Adventure of Wrangel Island (New York: MacMillan Company, 1925).

Von Chamisso [o mesmo autor de Peter Schlemiel], Reise um die Welt mit der Romanoffischen Entdeckungs Expedition in den Jahren 1815–1818 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1856).

Weitekamp, Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s First Women in Space Program (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).