NASA has already revealed its plan to launch first-ever manned mission to Mars in 2030. To make sure that everything is under control for three-year space mission, the space agency is getting help from Clemson to lay the ground work.
Two Clemson psychology professors, Tom Britt and Marissa Shuffler, have teamed up with NASA for the 70-million mile space marathon adventure. The experts will tell the space about the impacts of the Mars mission on astronauts’ health. Britt is working to find a potential antidote for boredom during the voyage, while the second researcher is focusing on the dynamics of teams working together in multi-team systems.
Even though the first-ever manned mission to Mars is 15 years away, NASA teams have started working on Orion capsule’s design. It is the spacecraft that will take astronauts to the fourth planet from the sun. According to the space agency, the command module may have 320 cubic feet of habitable space, which means six astronauts can enter the capsule. Britt said the size and distance between two quarters could be a problem.
As per Britt, the initial research will try to find out the consequences of boredom in small space. “The first phase of the study will provide an analysis about previous research and the operational assessment of astronauts. The result will be recommendations on what the mission planner and crew psychologists can do to better prepare the astronauts for this rigorous journey”, the researcher explained.
The SpaceNews notes that, the report accompanying the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill instructs NASA to spend at least $55 million on a “habitation augmentation module” to support the agency’s exploration efforts. The money would come from the Advanced Exploration Systems program, part of the Exploration Research and Development line item in the budget that received $350 million in the bill.
“NASA shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program no later than 2018,” the report states. It also requires NASA to provide Congress with a report within 180 days of the bill’s enactment on the status of the program and how it has spent the funds provided.
In other news NDTV reported, in the last few months, Nasa has bolstered the development of a habitation module that could be tested in cislunar space (lying between the Earth and the Moon or the Moon's orbit) in 2020s. The module could then be used for human missions to Mars.
Bigelow Aerospace company has also developed a prototype expandable module that will be installed on the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2016.
In a statement provided to HuffingtonPost, Congress gave the agency until 2018 to develop a decent prototype model of the “habitation module.” NASA must also produce a report on the status of the program in 180 days. NASA said it hopes to launch a crewed mission to Mars by the 2030s, and to begin cislunar (between Earth and the moon) testing of a workable habitat by the 2020s.
As SpaceNews noted, the agency has already started working with companies like Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing and Orbital ATK to study habitat designs.