Astronauts and human limitation

It’s interesting to note that, with all the technical challenges involved in sending people on interplanetary journeys, managing interpersonal conflicts remains a key requirement:

The eight-month mission [locked in a small dome to simulate a trip to Mars] members went through some issues, for instance, though they thankfully solved them and made sure the project would go as planned. “I think one of the lessons is that you really can’t prevent interpersonal conflicts. It is going to happen over these long-duration missions, even with the very best people,” HI-SEAS chief investigator Kim Binsted told AFP. “But what you can do is help people be resilient so they respond well to the problems and can resolve them and continue to perform well as a team.”

It reminds me of my favourite fact about astronaut Julie Payette, who tells audiences that she has never been able to touch her toes without bending her legs. As someone who received (poor) grades in high school for (lack of) flexibility, it’s a relief to know that someone who flew on the Space Shuttle twice was similarly incapable.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

3 thoughts on “Astronauts and human limitation”

  1. I have been thinking a lot about the ‘health and motivation’ dimension of climate change activism – a pursuit which deserves the title: “long-duration mission”.

    Binsted’s advice would probably be a pretty good mantra for the health and motivation committee: “help people be resilient so they respond well to the problems and can resolve them and continue to perform well as a team”.

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