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From: Henry Spencer <>
Subject: Re: astronauts......
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 1996 15:44:31 GMT

In article <4tp25b$> fcrary@rintintin.Colorado.EDU (Frank Crary) writes:
>...The crew members would have to live, work and get
>along with a small number of other people, in a confined
>space and without little, outside contact, for years. But
>it isn't at all clear how you would pick people who would
>be good at handling that kind of situation.

One can learn *some* things from submarine and Antarctic experience, about
both what to do and what not to do.  The Sept-Oct 1990 issue of Journal of
Spacecraft and Rockets had a special section with several major review
papers on the subject; I recommend it to people interested in the topic.

Antarctic experience with psychological screening is that you can weed out 
problem cases, but it's hard to predict performance well.  There are a
few exceptions to this; for example, interest in many hobbies and activities
consistently predicts poor performance in Antarctica.

Competitive, self-oriented people are exactly the *wrong* ones to send --
which excludes most fighter pilots and many researchers.  "The right
stuff" puts too much emphasis on self-sufficiency and bravery, which
interferes with communication and sharing of responsibility. 

This stuff has repercussions for hardware design too.  It's important that
it be easy for the whole crew to get together, which means there has to be
a room that will hold them all comfortably, and their working schedules
have to permit it.  Audio-only teleconferencing is *not* a substitute:  it
seems to aggravate conflicts.  Video teleconferencing may be okay.
 ...the truly fundamental discoveries seldom       |       Henry Spencer
occur where we have decided to look.  --B. Forman  |

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