As not to give the astronauts go insane?

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2017-02-13 14:00:13

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"Impulsive, suicidal, sex-crazed thrill seeker". Who is it? Participant of the TV project "Dom-2"? A base jumper? The leader of a cult? Think again. So some psychiatrists of the U.S. air force, back in the early days of the space race, was a psychological profile of potential astronauts. Doctors assumed that if they are moved, reckless Hedonists, no one will force them to buckle to a modified Intercontinental ballistic missile and go into orbit.

When did the space race, some scientists were worried that life in space would be too challenging for people. Will we be able to cope with missions that can take years?

Of Course, the men in white coats were wrong, and were guided largely by the lack of knowledge of space and fantastic stories, rather than common sense. Instead, the personality traits of the astronauts cool under pressure, thorough knowledge of know-how and high physical and mental quality — led NASA's six successful moon landings and is absolutely brilliant rescue of the crew of "Apollo 13", the mission that almost claimed the lives of three members.

But the belief that you need light extravagant not to get lost in space never went away completely. And since we are planning a mission to Mars at the end of the 2020s years — and even mass colonization of Mars — which in a sense have a touch of madness, these criticisms should be viewed in light of the unreasonable expectations of the 1950-ies. Because without serious ambitions of space travel is hardly progressed.

Concerns on the subject of sanity, the first astronauts were revealed in 2011 in the research work, published space historian Matthew Hersch, who now works at Harvard, in the journal Endeavour. Literature review Hirsch showed that George raff and ed Levi, a couple of psychiatrists in the United States air force working with NASA feared that candidates in the pilots-the astronauts "can be a thrill seekers who love fast planes to compensate for sexual inadequacies".

But test pilots have long been considered as candidates for astronauts. NASA didn't have to think about how to hire well-known wrestlers with stress — climbers and veterans of combat actions on their space vehicles. But no one group of people did not meet their requirements better than the silent group of cold-blooded, technically savvy, versed in engineering aviators from the air force, Navy and marine corps. After studying 500 possible candidates, the list was reduced to 32 persons, of which scored Mercury Seven — including John Glenn who died in December last year at the age of 95 years.

Thanks to the care of doctors in the evaluation of 32 candidates included the expanded program of psychiatric experts, which would show the mental health of the pilots. At the Lovelace clinic in Albuquerque, new Mexico, ruff and levy, along with two psychologists were fished out of the pilots stories from his personal life, forced to take tests, exams and tested their cognitive functions in terms of insulation, noise and other "inconvenient conditions", whatever they were.

"NASA studied applicants for the space program for several days during this first election in 1959, but didn't quite know what it" says Hersh. However, the search theory of impulsive, suicidal, sexual perverts was broken: the recruits were "completely delivered" from such psychoses, neuroses or personality disorders.

"They weren't daredevils, people with the desire to die or something like that," says Roger Launius, a former space historian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. "These test pilots evaluated the risks and made decisions based on them. In some cases, they insisted on certain changes to space technology, in order to moderate the risks".

The Concerns were overblown the lack of information on the vacuum of outer space — in fact, in February 1959, when doctors and psychologists were experienced by NASA astronauts, where no one has gone before. Yuri Gagarin said "let's Go!" in 1961. The only reference point people had for science fiction works, films and imaginary predictions in journals. The idea that people can go into space and stay people, seemed strange, says Hersh, so it is widely believed that space flight causes strange changes in the human psyche.

For example, in the movie "the Quatermass Experiment" (1953) returns from orbit rocket with two dead crew members and the third turned into a crazy killer as a result of contact with an alien in orbit. In "Exploration of space" (1955) journey to Mars is under threat of failure from-for the commander, who goes crazy and shows some religious paranoia, threatening to kill the entire crew. Concerns about the side effects of the spacewalk was so strong that even Wernher von Braun, the architect of the moon rocket "Saturn V", worried that the rockets may face with the angels or the wrath of God, says Hersh.

Although suspicions of sexual deviations and the search for death may seem ridiculous today, the doctors were just doing their job, says Lanius. Then space travel was an absolute novelty, and those who were to participate in them, just had to pass all kinds of tests, which would eliminate the risk of failure of the operation.

"I can understand the psychologist who thought about the impulsivity of the astronauts, for example. But I think that such assessments were wrong, and we've seen repeatedly since the first flight in 1961 that the astronauts remained cold-blooded under pressure and work effectively".

Mental stress of space exploration, however, could enter a new phase in the 21st century. Because of the expected duration of possible missions to Mars and the colonization process, many commentators have questioned their rationality.

In September 2016, for example, SpaceX said that it will be able to bring up to 100 people at a time on the Red planet in a giant rocket — and the start, therefore, the existence of Martian civilization. But the risks of death, particularly in the initial stages, will be large.

Mars One, the Dutch, meanwhile, goes even further in terms of risks, generally dismissing the possibility of returning the colonists to Earth: their journey will be one-way. These ex-humans will be to live your life on Mars under the incessant surveillance of viewers that will pay the bills Mars One.

And yet many people want to be part of these missions, and Mars One can conduct the procedure of selection of the first crew members, says its chief medical officer Norbert Kraft, a space psychologist from San Jose, California, worked with NASA, JAXA and Roscosmos on the selection of the crew.

But what if these future colonists went off the rails? Perhaps these colonial ambitions in some way connected with insanity, craziness, or at least deviations in personality development? Why would they do that? The first members of the crew will have to survive a six-month flight, a fascinating descent into the atmosphere and landing rockets on the tail. And then have to survive in a totally empty, cold, riddled with radiation, dust and vacuum of the desert with a tiny force of gravity — where not to grow crops, and water are constant problems. Who the hell is going on, being of sound mind?

And again, as in 1959, choosing the right types of personality will be critically important for such colonies. "Multi-year Mars mission seem unprecedented, but we have a lot of experience in selecting crews for long travel in metal tubes — submarines are a good example," says Hersh.

The Mars One Craft chooses the crew of the General public, not only of the astronauts all over the world. His choice is supported partly by observation of the simulation space missions in the insulation chamber in Japan over 110 days, eight people lived cooped up, imitating future astronauts flying to Mars. Similar projects were held in Moscow, in Star city.

In Japan Kraft was surprised when I saw that Japanese astronaut and ISS has not coped with the test. "Before you start the test, he was the favorite according to the results of our interviews and testing, but once inside, he separated himself from the group and became distressed and ended up last in the group. Personality is very rapidly changing in isolation".

In a Moscow simulator in all its beauty manifested cultural conflicts. Some candidates have upset others, openly viewing porn on their computers, others fought to the first blood fists, injuring more civilized colleagues. "Finding the right mix of gender and cultures is very important. The problem is the people, not the environment," says Kraft.

So in the case of missions in one end, like those offered by Mars One, just not worth it to pick up impulsive perverts in search of thrills. You need to find people with no personal ambitions. The dumber the better, says Hersh. It will be interesting to watch this show on TV, time will tell.

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