This study assessed the intrapersonal and interpersonal functioning of a three-couple expedition group that included a 2 1/2-year-old child which was ice-locked on a boat in the High Arctic during a major portion of the expedition. Personality assessment indicated that team members were generally well adjusted, scoring relatively higher on well-being and achievement and relatively lower on stress reactivity. Weekly mood ratings showed that the group exhibited significantly higher positive than negative affect. Reported negative events were relatively most frequent at the beginning of the Arctic stay and toward the end of the darkness period and were lowest during the initial darkness interval. The period of darkness had both a salutary and negative impact. A highly important means of coping with stress was seeking emotional support from one's partner. Selection of couples with strong bonds with their partner appears to be one viable approach for crew selection for long-duration missions.
NASA's advanced life support technologies are being combined with Arctic science and engineering knowledge in the Advanced Life Systems for Extreme Environments (ALSEE) project. This project addresses treatment and reduction of waste, purification and recycling of water, and production of food in remote communities of Alaska. The project focus is a major issue in the state of Alaska and other areas of the Circumpolar North; the health and welfare of people, their lives and the subsistence lifestyle in remote communities, care for the environment, and economic opportunity through technology transfer. The challenge is to implement the technologies in a manner compatible with the social and economic structures of native communities, the state, and the commercial sector. NASA goals are technology selection, system design and methods development of regenerative life support systems for planetary and Lunar bases and other space exploration missions. The ALSEE project will provide similar advanced technologies to address the multiple problems facing the remote communities of Alaska and provide an extreme environment testbed for future space applications. These technologies have never been assembled for this purpose. They offer an integrated approach to solving pressing problems in remote communities.
The 520-day experimental simulation of an exploration mission provided an opportunity to apply content analysis for studying the patterns of crew--Control center (CC) communication impeded by lag times. The period of high autonomy was featured by drastic reduction of the number of crew questions and requests which was judged as a marker of adaptation to the simulated space mission environment. The "key" events in the experiment changed the content of crew messages radically attesting to misperception of time, emotional involvement, want of CC feedback and draining out negative emotions. After the period of high autonomy with full loss of communication with controllers the traffic of crew messages onto the outside was noted to become very light which could also point to temporal changes in the communication style developed in the conditions of isolation and autonomous existence.
In both the Russian and U.S. space programs, crew safety and mission success have at times been jeopardized by critical incidents related to psychological, behavioral, and interpersonal aspects of crew performance. The modes used for handling interpersonal conflict may play a key role in such situations.
This study analyzed conflict-handling modes of three crews of four people each before and after a 264-d spaceflight simulation that was conducted in Russia in 1999-2000. Conflict was defined as a situation in which the concerns of two or more individuals appeared to be incompatible. Participants were assessed using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, which uses 30 forced-choice items to produce scores for five modes of conflict handling. Results were compared to norms developed using managers at middle and upper levels of business and government.
Both before and after isolation, average scores for all crews were above 75% for Accommodating, below 25% for Collaborating, and within the middle 50% for Competing, Avoiding, and Compromising. Statistical analyses showed no significant difference between the crews and no statistically significant shift from pre- to post-isolation.
A crew predisposition to use Accommodating most and Collaborating least may be practical in experimental settings, but is less likely to be useful in resolving conflicts within or between crews on actual flights. Given that interpersonal conflicts exist in any environment, crews in future space missions might benefit from training in conflict management skills.
The article deals with positive personal transformations in a simulated space mission. The investigation was focused on the aspects of control locus, stamina, proactive behavior to overcome challenges, and stress-related personal growth. Besides, ingenious psychophysiological techniques designed to select Russian cosmonauts were used for assessing stress-resistance and ability to control own emotions voluntarily. Experiment Mars-500 simulated the basic features of a mission to Mars. The crew consisted of 6 males 27 to 38 years of age who volunteered to spend 520 days in isolation and confinement in the IBMP experimental facility (Moscow). To detect personality changes, the volunteers were tested before the experiment and after its completion. According to the test results, the participants commonly demonstrated the ability to see the bright side of the Mars-500 adversities, which most often was caused by their social growth. Positive changes were particularly pronounced in the crewmembers who possessed a better ability to control own emotions. The simulated challenges were also beneficial for personal growth of the volunteers.
Two space simulation studies for the European Space Agency found that interpersonal tension increased in the beginning, around the middle, and toward the end of the confinement. This article reports data from a third study where this issue was further examined. Three subjects were confined in the MIR space station simulator in Moscow for 135 days. Communication analysis, peer rating, questionnaires, and interviews were used to assess crew tension. The temporal pattern found in this study corresponds to the previous findings. The beginning of the period was characterized by competition over leadership. Decreased crew cohesion and aggression toward the mission control marked the middle of the confinement. In the final weeks, open conflicts emerged, and one member was socially excluded. Joking occurred frequently in the first half of the confinement, whereas negative emotional expressions increased in the second half. These results might assist planners in anticipating behavioral problems during space missions.
In an experiment with 7-d dry immersion for testing the mechanic foot and electrical muscle stimulation procedures of compensating the support load deficiency the following biochemical parameters were studied: activated partial thromboplastin time, prothrombin time, prothrombin index, international normalized ratio, thrombin time (TT), fibrinogen, soluble fibrin-monomer complexes, D-dimer (DD), plasminogen (PG); antithrombin III activity (ATIII), protein C (PC) and alpha2-antiplasmin (AP). Control subjects (immersed w/o stimulation) did not exhibit significant shifts in the hemostasis system: however, they decreased ATIII, PC and PG in the post-experimental period. Mechanic foot stimulation did not have a noteworthy effect on the hemostasis system functioning during immersion, whereas electromyostimulation increased procoagulant and fibrinolytic activity in blood plasma.
For four weeks in October and November 1992, we--three European Astronaut Candidates from the European Astronauts Centre (EAC) in Cologne--were fortunate enough to have the opportuity to live and be trained in Star City. It proved to be a fascinating experience, both for us and the EAC Training Engineer, Antonio Torres, who accompanied us.
Formation and subsequent evolution of gas bubbles in blood and tissues of subjects exposed to decompression are casual processes in their nature. Such character of bubbling processes in a body predetermines probabilistic character of decompression sickness (DCS) incidence in divers, aviators and astronauts. Our original probabilistic theory of decompression safety is based on stochastic models of these processes and on the concept of critical volume of a free gas phase in body tissues. From positions of this theory, the probability of DCS incidence during single-stage decompressions and during hypobaric decompressions under EVA in particular, is defined by the distribution of possible values of nucleation efficiency in "pain" tissues and by its critical significance depended on the parameters of a concrete decompression. In the present study the following is shown: 1) the dimensionless index of critical nucleation efficiency for "pain" body tissues is a more adequate index of decompression stress in comparison with Tissue Ratio, TR; 2) a priory the decompression under EVA performed according to the Russian protocol is more safe than decompression under EVA performed in accordance with the U.S. protocol; 3) the Russian space suit operated at a higher pressure and having a higher "rigidity" induces a stronger inhibition of mechanisms of cavitation and gas bubbles formation in tissues of a subject located in it, and by that provides a more considerable reduction of the DCS risk during real EVA performance.