A mission to Mars will happen. Many are certain of that and NASA is hard at work preparing for it. While the destination is clear, the specifics of how the first Mars bound astronauts will travel and how they will settle when they get there is still to be determined.
The challenge of getting to and setting up on Mars is unique, primarily because the conditions are completely unique. But if there’s one other organization that may be able to help NASA prepare astronauts for the long and isolating trip to Mars, it’s the U.S. Navy’s submarine force.
From Deep Ocean To New Star Fields
At the submarine base located in Groton, Connecticut, NASA and U.S. Navy scientists are now working together to gain a deeper understanding of how individuals will cope with long periods of isolation and uncommon stress sources that result from time spent deep below the ocean and through new distances of space.
One of the key concerns is how a team of individuals will cope and interact together in such an extreme living situation.
Team Dynamics In Tight Spots
Researchers at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory have been examining such a dynamic for years. Their examinations are focused on making tactical teams work together in the most optimal way the tight conditions will allow.
Proven team working methods will be vital in establishing and carrying out a successful mission to Mars—and perhaps beyond—so it’s no wonder why NASA took an interest in the lab’s work and findings.
Submarines Reflecting Space Crafts
NASA is taking the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory’s tests of team performance, dialogue, critical-thinking, decision making, and the resulting assessments, and are now planning on setting up their own experiment. Set to begin in early 2016, NASA’s tests will further examine how human behavior issues will factor into their upcoming Mars and astroid missions.
Submariner studies are a good place to start as it’s expected that submarine conditions and occupant dynamics will be be reflected in upcoming NASA missions, especially as spacecrafts travel further and further from the reaches of earth.
What are your thoughts on NASA’s and the Navy’s research into the human factors of extreme missions? Share your input in the comments.