Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Breakdown Forces New Look At Mars Mission Sexuality

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the acting-like-adults-at-nasa dept.

528

FloatsomNJetsom writes "Popular Mechanics has up an interesting story, discussing what the long-term implications of the Lisa Nowak incident could mean for Mars Mission crew decisions: With a 30-month roundtrip, that isn't the sort of thing you'd want to happen in space. Scientists have been warning about the problems of sex on long-term spaceflight, and experts are divided as to whether you want a crew of older married couples, or asexual unitard-wearing eunuchs. The point the article makes specifically is that NASA's current archetype of highly-driven, task-oriented people might be precisely the wrong type for a Mars expedition. In addition scientists may use genomics or even functional MRI in screening astronauts, in addition to facial-recognition computers to monitor mental health during the mission." Maybe observers could just deploy the brain scanner to keep track of them?

cancel ×

528 comments

Movie deal (3, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947936)

a-sexual unitard-wearing eunuchs

I think scenario has much better movie possibilities.

Re:Movie deal (5, Funny)

thisIsNotMyName (1019074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947994)

I suggest this story be tagged with as 'spaceballs'.

Re:Movie deal (3, Funny)

Zabu (589690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948226)

a-sexual unitard-wearing eunuchs

does anyone else have the feeling that half of Slashdot will be spending most of their weekends writing resume's and cover letters to NASA.

Re:Movie deal (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948316)

See: Dune.

Robert Heinlein? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948464)

"With a 30-month roundtrip, that isn't the sort of thing you'd want to happen in space."

Isn't this how "Stranger in a Strange Land" started out? A trip to mars with infidelity and murder?

*Chuckle* (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947942)

Let's have Slashdot solve a problem revolving around human sexual relationships. I can't think of three words more "anti-slashdot" than that ;)

Re:*Chuckle* (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948090)

Let's have Slashdot solve a problem revolving around human sexual relationships. I can't think of three words more "anti-slashdot" than that ;)

really, that's why we turn to the porn [slashdot.org] industry

Re:*Chuckle* (4, Funny)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948290)

Based on the article ('socially adept introverts' and 'high toleration for lack of achievement'), I'd think Slashdot is an excellent screening tool for finding people suitable for a Mars mission.

Re:*Chuckle* (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948294)

I can... "Happy Valentine's day"

Monitoring them will not work (5, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948428)

This has all of the makings of several classic sci-fi movies

Just because you monitor them does not give you the capability to fix things if things go bad on Mars.

Of course, you can send groups of people on long journeys. Just take a look at the classic journeys of exploration, where people were at sea, out of site of land, often for many months at a time.

But they had a solution to certain problems that you can't have in a space ship. You can't put discontents on an island in the fashion of Robinson Cruscoe, or set them adrift in a boat like Captain Bligh was.

You need to have a practical body of techniques as a solution to resolving human issues that does not require much in terms of medications. You can run out of medications. You need to be able to debug the mind.

Re:Monitoring them will not work (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948504)

Why do you respond to messages that have nothing to do with what you posted? Is it because you want your "insightful" post to be close to the top of the message list? More eyes see it, so it gets rated up.

I dub this phenomenon: 'faux-reply karma whore'

Maybe... (0)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947948)

...just maybe Lisa was somewhat unstable to BEGIN with? Maybe this is an isolated incident, but psychological profiles should be taken with greater care before extended missions IMNSHO.

Re:Maybe... (0)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948136)

You'd have to be crazy to think that NASA doesn't do a psychological screening of their personel. It's just not likely that she was already messed up.

think what...? (1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948356)

"...have to be crazy to think that NASA doesn't do a psychological screening..."

Strange, that's exactly what Lisa said when she was arrested...that, and something about not being able to convert yards to meters.

(does it smell like someone needs to have their di-di's changed...REAL soon?_

Re:Maybe... (0, Flamebait)

tsbiscaro (888711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948472)

Maybe it's easier not send two girls on a mission, or not send a girl at all. Girls gone wild sometimes...

Submariners (5, Insightful)

Zebadias (861722) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947956)

They only need to look as far as the crew on a submarine to see what makeup can last a year. AFIK they are all male crew.

Re:Submariners (4, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948108)

Very true. But I'm pretty sure there's plenty of people who's cry sexism from here to Jupiter if NASA suggested an all-male crew for that stated reason.

Re:Submariners (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948140)

Then I suggest an all female crew, plus me... as ... um... an independent observer. Yeah, that's it.

Re:Submariners (1)

eldimo (140734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948130)

You didn't knew correctly, they are women on board submarines since 1995.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine#Women_on_su bmarines [wikipedia.org]

Re:Submariners (4, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948256)

Did you even read the article you linked. It stated there have been some female higher officers, ie they get private quarters. But no females among the rank and file.

Re:Submariners (1, Informative)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948146)

"In the navy..."

On a more serious note, submariners do not spend the entirety of the time submerged away from civilisation. They probably spend at the absolute most a month outside of human contact at sea. Remember while a nuclear submarine can run damn near indefinitely (until the uranium/plutonium runs out) the food supply cannot last indefinitely. You'll have stop off's at friendly ports to resupply, get r&r etc.

Re:Submariners (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948360)

The good food supply lasts about a month. In a war or emergency situation, nuclear submarines like the Trident carry a six month supply of preserved "food". Since the nuclear reactors can distill as much fresh water as they need and they can scrub the air and add O2, it is possible to stay under for that long, it's just not very comfortable. I'm sure the maximum time that any particular submarine has been under water is classified.

Re:Submariners (3, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948524)

They probably spend at the absolute most a month outside of human contact at sea.

Not in the U. S. Navy's submarine service. The operating cycle of an Ohio-class ballistic missile sub appears to be 112 days, of which 74 are at sea and 38 days are in-port refit (see http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/rep ort/1999/newssbn.htm [globalsecurity.org] ). On that 2 1/2 month deterrent patrol, a Trident boomer won't surface, let alone put into port.

So at least in the boomer service, submarine crews spend a looong time away from anyone but each other.

Re:Submariners (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948208)

They only need to look as far as the crew on a submarine to see what makeup can last a year. AFIK they are all male crew.
The difference there is those guys are professional killers, trained to move about in total silence while stalking and eventually killing their prey. Lisa Nowak (the psychotic astronaut), however, is not, and completely fucked up a perfectly good killin` (:

And besides, we know everyone in the Navy is gay. So no real problems there anyway.

Re:Submariners (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948212)

But a Mars mission doesn't have the payload capacity for rum and lashes.

Re:Submariners (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948310)

And the US military is against both of those, anyway.

Re:Submariners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948338)

makeup can last a year. AFIK they are all male crew

Some more male than others, apparently... but it sounds like they've solved the problem of having to constantly reapply lipstick. Not that I would know anything about that of course.

Spaceballs (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947960)

No, what we want is pansexual swingers in a nonstop orgy . People who will have sex without conflating it with love, possession, jealousy, status or other issues. To prevent inferiority conflicts with mission rank, sexual performance should be evaluated along with other mission skills.

All of it on camera, especially the long seasons spent in zero-g. The syndication rights could fund the entire mission, and the subsequent colonization.

Re:Spaceballs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948142)

Mod parent "insightful"

Re:Spaceballs (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948238)

You're rated funny, but you're totally right. You need people that can do that in order to make it all work, and then some high-powered birth control to make it safe. Sex isn't the problem, its jealousy and possession that cause problems.

The idea of an all-male crew, as was suggested by someone in relation to submarines currently, isn't really an option when you're trying to establish semi-permanent colonies. The only real alternative is to properly psychologically profile your candidates, and to keep an free-sex policy.

Re:Spaceballs (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948394)

Zero-G? As in 'zero G-spot'? That will certainly lead to a bad evaluation of sexual performance.. :P

Re:Spaceballs (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948470)

Great idea..sign me up for the Astronaut screening program! No more centrifuge rides at High-G's, I'll be doing a different kind of riding!

However the idea of ranking sexual performance, wouldn't that imply status? And if a high-ranking officer was "unable to perform" would that lead to mutiny?

To offset the costs we could have Mission Sponsors like Viagara, Cialis, Male Enhancement products like "Bob" takes, Astroglide, Condom companies, Porn Web Sites (I call dibs on SpacePorn.com), etc.

Simple (5, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947964)

Recruit the astronauts from among the slashdot readers. They won't have a problem going a couple of years without sex. You can't miss what you don't know!

another option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17947966)

Why not just hire swingers as your astronauts?

Older married couples can be a problem as well (2, Interesting)

mutterc (828335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947974)

Just because your crew makeup is all married couples doesn't mean you won't have jealousy and love triangles, possibly fatal ones.

Source: "Stranger in a Strange Land"

The Man Plus solution (Fred Pohl) book (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948490)

Was turn a man (Roger Torroway) into a cyborg, remove his dinkle and pump him with estrogen. and send up mental health doctors.

Re:Older married couples can be a problem as well (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948540)

Alternative Source: this week's news [cnn.com] .

There are sexy missionaries on Mars? (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947978)

Why was I not informed of this earlier? Suddenly I feel the need to go and preach to the heathen martians.

Midgets! (1)

Darwiniac (634349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17947998)

Hasn't anyone looked at using well trained midgets? You could reduce supplies and ship sizes by a third, that's billions of dollars! My guess, rampant hieght-ism at NASA.

Re:Midgets! (1)

paltemalte (767772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948190)

Sending midgets into outer space and letting the watching aliens think all humans look like that - funny. Seeing the look on the faces of the aliens as their dropships lands on earth, when they realize we are actually 3 times as bigger than they thought, and had calculated their take-over plans on - priceless!

"Rum, sodomy, and the lash" (4, Insightful)

Vollernurd (232458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948006)

This is an interesting one. In centuries past when boat crews of men would find themself at sea for many months without female company many strange behaviours emerged. Homosexual acts between otherwise "heterosexual" red-bloodeed Jack Tars became quite normal.

Can even science effectively moderate and control the human sexual urge? The Royal Navy of days gone by turned a blind eye to most of it, so I gather from unreliable sources I may have read. I believe the words in my subject here are attributed to the answer Winston Churchill gave when asked what made the Royal Navy of old so strong.

Jeez, I can't imagine finding many of my colleagues alluring even after spending 6 months trapped in a submarine with them!

Re:"Rum, sodomy, and the lash" (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948068)

Homosexual acts between otherwise "heterosexual" red-bloodeed Jack Tars became quite normal.
Ah this helps explain Captain Jack Sparrows accent.

Re:"Rum, sodomy, and the lash" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948196)

It's only gay if you're underway.

Or, conversely, it's only queer if you're at a pier.

Re:"Rum, sodomy, and the lash" (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948216)

Churchill never said that.

Re:"Rum, sodomy, and the lash" (1)

Sircus (16869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948392)

Churchill never said that.
He didn't, but apparently, he wished he had. [winstonchurchill.org]

Re:"Rum, sodomy, and the lash" (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948388)

Men, men, men, men
Men, men, men, men...

There's men above and men below
and men down in the galley
There's Butch and Spike and Buzz and Biff
and one guy we call Sally
One guy we call Sally

Men, men, men
We're a ship all filled with men
You'll never have to lift the seat
There's no one here but men

We're men and friends until the end
and none of us are sissies
At night we sleep in seperate beds
and blow each other kissies
Blow each other kissies

Men, men, men. We're a ship all filled with men
So throw your rubbers overboard there's no one here but men

- Martin Mull

KFG

"a-sexual unitard-wearing eunuchs"... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948008)

Ok, first off, this could make recruiting a bit dicey for the NASA astronaught program

Secondly, why are the eunuchs required to wear unitards?....Is this a sci-fi novel reference?....do we need to point the brain scanner at you?

I'm confused

Perhaps you're just referring to an a-sexual voice for the Unix based ship computer?

See how rumors get started?

polar opposite (4, Funny)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948010)

"NASA's current archetype of highly-driven, task-oriented people might be precisely the wrong type for a Mars expedition"
OK, the opposite of this would be laid-back herb-toking free-love hippies. While it's true that such folk will be disinclined to kill each other in a jealous rage, but they are also not likely to be inclined to get into a tin can with no weed for three years and walk around on Mars collecting rocks they won't even get to keep or sell on EBay.

Re:polar opposite (1)

jdp816 (895616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948100)

Don't tell me you've never seen a hippie lose it and go nucking futz?!

Re:polar opposite (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948206)

Yea, but they are generally on something other than weed at the time. Or going through withdrawals.

Re:polar opposite (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948402)

But imagine how much more complicated designing the ship would be if you had to include provisions for smoking...

Re:polar opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948154)

OK, the opposite of this would be laid-back herb-toking free-love hippies. While it's true that such folk will be disinclined to kill each other in a jealous rage, but they are also not likely to be inclined to get into a tin can with no weed for three years and walk around on Mars collecting rocks they won't even get to keep or sell on EBay.

Plants make oxygen. Oxygen keeps astronauts alive.

The problem you will encounter is keeping the astronauts from scraping the scrubbers for resin.

2007 : Space Odyssey (1)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948012)

I especially enjoyed the Hal Cartoon : Cagel Cartoons [cagle.com] . Scroll down to the middle of the page.

Comically Addressed (1)

computersareevil (244846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948014)

Tom Toles addressed [washingtonpost.com] this yesterday...

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948016)

Sending a crew of swingers? Therefore when someone sleeps around, nobody cares!

too much being made (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948022)

I think too much is being made of her mental breakdown. Its not uncommon for women to all be affected by jealousy and astronauts are known to get god complexes. They should have seen this coming. What really irks me is that she is being tried in the public and the only crime she truly committed was assault with pepper spray. They're trying to prosecute her based on intent when they have no idea whether she really intended to do anything but scare the other woman.

They (the media) should just let this drop. She had a mental breakdown and probably needs to take a break from the NASA stuff for a while. It shouldn't mean the end to her career, but it should mean the end to her space shuttle rides.

Re:too much being made (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948248)

You're so right. Newsflash: emotional breakdowns can occur. This didn't happen in space, and nobody was seriously hurt. The story is all sensationalist media circus crap, but luckily it's been one-upped by sensationalist media circus crap with big boobs.

The Navy (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948030)

In colonial times, people would spend up to 9 months at sea on board naval vessels. In those days it was deemed bad luck to have a woman on board, and was avoided as much as possible (except for passenger ships). The reasons behind it are obvious: 200 drunk pirates at sea for 9 months + 1 woman on board = deep trouble. Exploring space isn't that much different to what our forefathers faced a few hundred years ago. Unfortunately it's hard to state the obvious in an age of women's liberation. The answer is simple, although not a P.C one - send an all male, heterosexual crew.

Re:The Navy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948224)

200 drunk pirates at sea for 9 months + 1 woman on board = single mother.

possible solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948036)

"highly-driven, task-oriented people might be precisely the wrong type for a Mars expedition."
1. slackers in space
2. "the 'dro"

Ensuring 30 months with no sex? (5, Funny)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948044)

Just pile some PC's onboard preloaded with WOW. This will 100% ensure that no sex will take place. Other side effects include 0 mission objectives accomplished though. They would land at their destination and never get out of the ship. =)

Re:Ensuring 30 months with no sex? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948286)

Just pile some PC's onboard preloaded with WOW.

Crap man ... would you want to play with eight minutes of lag ?

Re:Ensuring 30 months with no sex? (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948438)

Just pile some PC's onboard preloaded with WOW. This will 100% ensure that no sex will take place. Other side effects include 0 mission objectives accomplished though. They would land at their destination and never get out of the ship. =)

Yeah but, there's hella lag from Mars to the WoW servers back here on Earth. They'd certainly never survive on a PvP server.

Nerds in space (2, Funny)

Blade80 (416070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948048)

Put us nerds up there.

Rejected on earth and now in space....

200 mile high club? (2, Interesting)

jimfinity (849860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948050)

This raises the question...has anyone actually ever had sex in space? http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_214.html [straightdope.com]

Re:200 mile high club? (1)

cbv (221379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948432)

> This raises the question...has anyone actually ever had sex in space?

Nope, and for obvious reasons:
a) zero gravity can induce nausea
b) astronauts perspire a LOT
c) in space, you experience lower blood pressure, which means reduced blood flow to you-know-where

And don't forget the lack of privacy as well as zero gravity not really being conducive to passionate (ok, ok) love-making... Unless you take a couple of rubber/elastic bands with you, I guess. But try to explain THAT to your superiors...

Sigh (1)

Fist! Of! Death! (1038822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948078)

Just send repulsively ugly ones and save the tax-payer's dollar$ on pointless research

Stop Stereotyping Asexual Eunuchs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948122)

We don't all wear just unitards!

humans (1)

ZivZoolander (964472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948132)

i fail to see why sex is being made out as a bad thing, humans have sex. sex=life. its a normal biological function. trying to detur it may cause more problems then prevent. my vote it on married couple temas to mars. that way sex is not the responsibility of NASA but instead an issue tht a marrried couple deals with. while all men crews in a submarine has been debated for a long time, how ever NASA is a scientific organization not a war organization. in fact i think sex should be mandatory for scientific puroses. finding new possitions, the reactions fluids have in 0-g, and even perhaps eggs development in extreme conditions.

Re:humans (1)

Blade80 (416070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948262)

I think the problem is if you have an uneven number of the different sex it may cause problems. And who's to say two people will not like the same person. Relationships are complicated. It bring a whole bunch of new emotion into the mission.

Re:humans (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948324)

not to mention an accurate video record of the responses of the bare female breast to jumping, maneuvering and other accelerations in zero g.

What about pornstars? (1)

paltemalte (767772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948138)

Seriously, astronaut train a few good pornstars, and they could help finance the mars-trip by having pay per view webcams in the spaceship.

Why should we be so frigging afraid of one of the most basic drive of all (or at least most) humans?

The worst that could happen would be that they got some sort of weird Mars-STD, but then we could study them and develop intergalactic medications for that STD and become rich on alien-dollars.

Send Married People.. (1, Interesting)

chromozone (847904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948158)

Send married people since they are used to high stress and no sex.

Big brother... (1, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948174)

They should treat it like Big Brother (is that shown in the USA? It's a "reality" show) and deliberately choose people who they know are going to have problems, then put a camera in there and broadcast it live. They would make a fortune. And voting for who is going to get "thrown out" would be even more fun as the consequences of that would be rather dramatic. Sounds like great TV to me!

SEX??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948176)

Just send a ship full of slashdotters and sex won't be a problem

Lisa Nowak Implications (1, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948178)

Female Astronaut : Oh god I am so hot, I need it right now
Male Astronaut : Oh yeah baby
Female Astronaut : Come here and rip my nappy off with your teeth!
Male Astronaut : er, em is that the asteroid impact alarm? I better go check.

One incident in 50 years (4, Insightful)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948186)

NASA has one incident like this in its nearly 50 years of history and they think they need to change their screening policy? I'd say they had a great run, and that this incident was a fluke.

Also, it seems that this particular astronaut had lots of stress related to being a single parent. I can't help but feel that NASA would not send parents (single or otherwise) of small children on very long missions. Maybe I'm wrong, but it I'd think that this is just begging for psychological issues to bubble up over time.

pffft ... 30 months without sex (-1, Redundant)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948222)

What a bunch of lightweights!

Crazy? (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948228)

I don't get the "crazy" reference. Are you crazy because you're pissed off at someone? Geez, I should be locked up, then, half the time. Because she drove 900 miles in a diaper? That seems pretty shrewd to me; why risk unnecessary exposure just to pee? Because she wanted to throttle someone? It's extreme, but not totally unnatural to want to cause serious violent harm on someone else. So how is she crazy? And I was going to suggest free-love, too, but someone above beat me to it and said it better. Maybe they should _encourage_ the dalliances, rather than, following our Puritan ethos, shun sex. Of course, being married, and a Slashdot reader, I've only heard about sex.

Agree (1)

merikari (205531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948528)

I don't think any program can weed this "craziness" out. I recently saw a BBC (I think) documentary on people who somehow became obsessed with a person they fell in love with. I don't think you can profile people and find candidates who cannot fall in love or be jelous. In this documentary there was one elderly man who had seen a a girl his age during WWII and had never stopped thinking about her. He spent years trying to find the person and eventually found her decades later. Another example was a "happily" married man who fell in love with a woman and eventually lost his family. I think he understood that he would never get the other woman, but he was just too obsessed to stop. One little old lady stalked her ex-husband out of jealousy and just couldn't help it until her friends got her to move out of the country. All of these people seemed ordinary and genuine. I think this can happen to almost anyone.

Hmph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948240)

I don't know about you, but I'm signing up to go to Mars so I can get laid.

Hippies!! (2, Funny)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948258)

The point the article makes specifically is that NASA's current archetype of highly-driven, task-oriented people might be precisely the wrong type for a Mars expedition.

So what's the polar opposite of highly-driven, task-oriented people?
Weed-driven, snack-oriented hippies.

We obviously need to make Mars into a hippie commune.

Re:Hippies!! (1)

picob (1025968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948478)

But mars is the god of war, not of peace, so hippies won't work.

how about as an opposite of highly-driven, task-oriented people:

through-the-dirt-crawling trigger-happy soldiers?

Screening (1)

loafing_oaf (1054200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948268)

Stress screening (not physical, but situational or emotional) might help. After all, this was not a case of normal behavior. Understandable, but not normal. There had to be signs of her possessive tendency. I'm no expert on the space program, but I think it shows a lopsidedness of the training.

Strange difference (4, Insightful)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948280)

I find the difference in treatment by the media and the executive of this incident (vs. others I can think of) very perculiar: not that they're not all over her, but because she's an astronaut, papers respectfully note that the family has asked us to 'withhold judgement'. NASA keeps her 'in seclusion'. The judge granted bail. If driving 1000 miles with equipment to kidnap and kill had happened to any other person in any other profession, they would have locked her up and throw away the key - but not here. She's part of a sacred league after all.

HAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948284)

Maybe observers could just deploy the brain scanner to keep track of them?

HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could read your brainwaves.

Instead of hiring asexual astronauts... (1)

neatfoote (951656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948288)

...why not just recommend that existing personnel take a course of anti-depressants or other libido-lowering pharmaceuticals for the duration of the mission?

There are some ethical issues to be worked out, sure, but it's my understanding that astronauts already submit to a fair amount of tinkering with their minds and bodies.

Now maybe I'm missing something here... (1)

VE3OGG (1034632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948312)

They mention specifically that they are going to use a facial recognition computer to monitor mental health, but what do they intend to do in the event someone snaps. Even if they decided to "turn the ship around", they probably couldn't do anything before the person snapped.

Personally, I would think the best people would be a mixture of task-oriented and more lax individuals. I mean, no group can survive in a vaccum,

The truth about Lisa Nowak (1)

bumptehjambox (886036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948320)

This stupid situation doesn't apply to all astronauts, just female astronauts that happen to be in the crazed state of womanhood (post-womanhood?) known as menopause. Believe no doctor would allow an Astronaut to leave Earth's orbit in that state, nor would any woman feel comfortable doing so! So female astronauts wouldn't be going to Mars at that age, and it is really tragic that anyone would look at this as anything more than it is... A woman going through menopause, which takes a hell of a toll on mental stability. As for not trusting Astronauts handling 30 months without sex, that is absolutely absurd and the Lisa Nowak situation doesn't change that a bit. If we find that won't be going to Mars anytime soon it is solely because we wasted all of our money, other's, and some that we won't have for years, in Iraq. My embarrassment on behalf of this country grows daily, but this transcends American politics, it's that painfully obvious.

ISS experience? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948322)

They've had mixed crews on the ISS, and there's one right now. Maybe those are test cases?

The solution... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948376)

Train teen lesbians and televise the trip for funding.

Help, not screen (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948378)

NASA's problem is that they're stuck in the old model of "we want to find the VERY BEST candidate" and a "process of elimination." Many corporations long ago realized that you look for good people you can refine to be the best and you keep them. NASA's like an employer that shows a brilliant stock trader the door after an interview because he's a horrendous dresser, instead of hiring him and his supervisor taking him to a tailor some evening.

Guess what? We're all full of faults, and even after decades of refining their screening technique, they didn't detect that this woman could have serious mental issues.

Would You Seek Help If It Meant You'd Never Fly On the Shuttle [sciam.com] covers the matter better than I could, but basically: NASA's reaction to this is more intense screening, when it should be to recognize the commitment made on both sides and help them resolve their personal problems.

My employer has an entire department dedicated to helping employees with "life" problems. It's anonymous; your supervisor or coworkers never find out you even talked to them. Why? Because it's better to have someone for you to talk to and try and help you with little problems, before they become problems that interfere with your work. Had NASA had a similar program, chances are the astronaut in question would have received the mental help/counselling she needed.

Instead, NASA lost a great astronaut and her life has been destroyed.

solution (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948422)

Send sexually open folks with their tubes tied.

That way they can sex up whenever, nobody is left out, and no babies come back to earth being the first offworlders.

Tom

Way too much is being made of this... (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948458)

I think way too much is being made of this. Assuming she did what she is being accused of (something that I don't necesarily accept at face value anyway), it just goes to show that the woman is, like all the rest of the astronauts, just as human as the rest of us. There have been close to 500 people who have been in space, slightly more than half are American. The national average for imprisonment is something close to 10% in the states, so well, they are shooting way below the average.

It is reported that NASA is going to change their psych evals in response to this. Rather than trying to hammer out the humanity from people, perhaps we all need to just accept that they are people. That sooner or later something bad is going to happen because of that, and be ready to deal with it as it happens and then move on. No need for a world to stand in shock. It happens, we wish it didn't happen, we work to make it so it happens as little as possible, but it does so we just deal with it.

The point is, we need to improve and grow and become better as a people and as a society before we can expect that any segment of that society is going to be perfect.

When Science Fiction becomes Science Fact (1)

tezza (539307) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948460)

From the point of a Bollywood fiction story the story of
* a NASA lady
* dressing in disguise and
* trying to revenge upon a NASA love rival

is pure B-Rate Drama worthy of Dan Brown [danbrown.com]


So if that slap-dash story can actually happen, how can any plan counter one of the many *serious* long term Fictional problems??

* Alien [wikipedia.org] , Crimson Tide [imdb.com] - Superuser has too much power
* Stark [amazon.co.uk] - Everyone hates it and commits suicide
* Celebrity Big Brother [wikipedia.org] - One group starts picking on another
* Robocop 2 [wikipedia.org] - First prototype mission works, but subsequent missions/models cannot *recreate the magic* ?


If things go wrong, will they stop the daily messages back from the deranged crew??

Lets go to the Moon before we talk about Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948492)

Contrary to popular belief, humans have yet to make it to the Moon. It's silly to talk about Mars if we can't make it past the Van Allen belt [wikipedia.org] .

Confusion (1)

Chris whatever (980992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948500)

"In addition scientists may use genomics or even functional MRI in screening astronauts, in addition to facial-recognition computers to monitor mental health during the mission."

What if the astronaut masturbates and he makes weird faces. I would not want to get thrown out of a shaft in space because people thought i was going postal!!!!!

send one of us! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948506)

Just send some slashdotters - we don't have sex anyway :\

Asexual, unitard-wearing, eunuchs (1)

gdad2 (740677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948516)

Maybe that explains the reason way all space aliens described by abductees resemble asexual unitard-wearing eunuchs! Maybe they're asexual unitard-wearing eunuchs from OUR OWN future! "Attention, devolved human from our past timeline: where may we find Mars?"
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...