Saturday , January 23 2021

Astronauts going to Mars need conscientiousness, experts say



The typical astronaut has a degree in science or mathematics, spent countless hours working as a pilot and is in good health, but the right things do not matter for those who want to go to Mars – they will need ‘conscientiousness’.

A study led by Western University found that space heroes who want to survive on the red planet must have an eagerness to do the right thing.

This personality trait also proved to surpass others such as ‘honesty’, ‘humility’, ’emotionality’, ‘extraversion’, ‘openness’ and ‘pleasantness’.

Julia McMenamin, a doctoral student in Western psychology, said: ‘Conscientiousness, an individual personality trait, can be seen as a collective team resource.’

‘The more conscientious a team is, the better they are likely to perform tasks.’

The results are from the four-week AMADEE-18 analog mission, which simulated a Martian environment with isolated and extreme conditions, along with exploring different personality traits to gather insight into how the crew reacts to the isolation during real missions.

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The typical astronaut has a degree in science or mathematics, spent countless hours working as a pilot and is in good health, but the right things do not matter to those who want to go to Mars – they will need “conscientiousness”

NASA is working tirelessly to send the first humans to Mars in 2030 and those selected for the historic mission will spend time with a small group in cramped spaces and all must work together to survive in the Martian environment.

As the team will feel isolated and overcrowded, experts warn that conflicts will surely arise, which has led Western University to examine what attributes are needed to stop war from breaking out.

After four weeks of experiments, the researchers allowed the five astronauts to rate their team and themselves on several qualities – humility and honesty, emotionality, comfort, extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to experience.

The surveys revealed traits such as “social loafing” or the habit of a team member who puts less effort when working individually, is at the bottom of a desirable trait.

A study led by Western University found that space heroes who want to survive on the red planet must have an eagerness to do the right thing. This personality trait was also found to surpass others such as ‘honesty’, ‘humility’, ’emotionality’, ‘extraversion’, ‘openness’ and ‘conformity’.

The results are from the four-week AMADEE-18 analog mission, which simulated a Martian environment with isolated and extreme conditions, along with exploring different personality traits to gather insight into how the crew reacts to the isolation during real missions.

The results are from the four-week AMADEE-18 analog mission, which simulated a Martian environment with isolated and extreme conditions, along with exploring different personality traits to gather insight into how the crew reacts to the isolation during real missions.

These negative behaviors turned out to cause problems within the team and should be “non-negotiable for long space missions,” McMenamin explained.

“Anyone who has worked in a team knows that conflicts between team members can damage the team’s performance and create a negative experience,” she said.

“When people argue about how to get things done, or become personal disagreements, there is less time and energy left to complete tasks.”

‘What’s interesting is that there are different types of conflicts, and as long as interpersonal issues and arguments about how to perform tasks are avoided, differences of opinion and views can actually improve team performance as it allows the team to benefit from each member knowledge and perspective. ‘

In addition to conflict, acute stress can also negatively affect teams on Earth and in space, says McMenamin.

“Stress creates distractions, contributes to overload of tasks, increases destructive feelings or feelings of anxiety and worry and makes it difficult for team members to coordinate their work,” she continued.

Given that this specific analog mission only lasted for about a month, researchers are interested in knowing how things can play out over a long mission.

The surveys revealed traits such as 'social loafing' or the habit of a team member who puts less effort when working individually, is at the bottom of a desirable trait.

The surveys revealed traits such as ‘social loafing’ or the habit of a team member who puts less effort when working individually, is at the bottom of a desirable trait.

“Major problems caused by mental distress and interpersonal problems do not tend to appear until months or even years spent in an isolated, confined and extreme environment, highlighting the need for longer simulations,” McMenamin said.

NASA astronaut Victor Glover, who recently flew to the International Space Station, discussed the importance of teamwork when performing long-term space missions.

“It’s extremely important,” Glover told the National Air and Space Museum.

‘It’s probably the only thing you get back to more than any other specific science or technology or system that you have to work within the spacecraft or on the surface of another planet.’

‘We spend a lot of time training to take care of each other and ourselves and our team to carry out our mission.’

NASA plans to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s after the first landing on the moon

Mars has become the next giant leap for humanity’s exploration of space.

But before humans reach the red planet, astronauts will take a series of small steps by returning to the moon for a year-long mission.

Details of a mission in lunar orbit have been presented as part of a timeline of events leading up to missions to Mars in the 2030s.

Nasa has outlined its four-step plan (pictured) which it hopes will allow people to visit Mars at the People to Mars summit held in Washington DC yesterday.  This will mean more missions to the moon in the coming decades

Nasa has outlined its four-step plan (pictured) which it hopes will allow people to visit Mars at the People to Mars summit held in Washington DC yesterday. This will mean more missions to the moon in the coming decades

In May 2017, Greg Williams, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Nasa’s Policy and Plans, outlined the space agency’s four-step plan, which it hopes will allow humans to visit Mars one day, as well as its expected time frame.

Phase one and two will involve several trips to the lunar space, to enable the construction of a habitat that will provide a staging area for the trip.

The last piece of hardware delivered would be the real Deep Space Transport vehicle that would later be used to carry a crew to Mars.

And a year-long simulation of life on Mars will be completed in 2027.

Phases three and four will begin after 2030 and will involve sustained crew expeditions to the Mars system and Mars’ surface.


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