Last days on the Red Planet
Sergey Krikalyov, head of the Yury Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, says this experience will prove useful for furthering the study of psychology.“The results of [the experiment] will be useful not only for future space missions, but also for different fields of medicine. Finally it will be useful for members of polar expeditions and sailors, who spend a lot of time together in one place, on one boat," he said. “And as regards a real flight to Mars, training will take place when the technical equipment able to fly to the Red Planet is created.”
Gennady Padalka, a famous Russian cosmonaut, explains how he deals with being so far away from his family and, indeed, his planet. “The main thing is to create a good psychological climate. When I flew into space for the third time, there were six people in our crew: two Russians, a Canadian, an American, a Belgian and one from Japan. A real symbiosis! And everyone had their own traditions and customs. But the best thing there is to find something useful that unites people,” he said.
Although scientists know more now about psychological problems that astronauts have to deal with during a journey to Mars, there are still serious challenges to overcome before planning a real launch, says Patrick Fullick, founder of Capital Science Connections, a company which specializes in scientific innovation.
“One of the real technical challenges that remains is working out how we protect cosmonauts on this long journey from the solar wind, the charged particles that come from the Sun, because that really will be one of the biggest difficulties that future technologies face in carrying out this journey,” said Fullick.