Space anthropologist Jack Stuster has interviewed astronauts for decades to help improve the human experience of space exploration. As NASA shifts its focus toward Mars, Stuster recently completed a report that identifies all the tasks that interplanetary explorers must prepare for.

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I think one of the most important point is: can you make peace with the fact that it’s almost certainly a one way ticket.


Here’s a snippet from the Q&A that I found particularly interesting: >Q: In that new report, you defined key jobs that ought to be spread among the Mars crew: leader, pilot/navigator, geologist, biologist, physician, mechanic, electrician, and computer specialist. Who would be on your personal dream team to Mars? >A: Ellen Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver in Alien. Wouldn’t you want Sigourney Weaver? Mark Watney played by Matt Damon. Joe Turner played by Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor—not a space film, but the characters that Redford plays tend to be calm and deliberate. ***John Wick played by Keanu Reeves in the John Wick series, in case the crew encounters hostile aliens, and because Reeves seems to be a kind and generous person—a perfect comrade during prolonged isolation and confinement.*** And another, more serious one: >Q: NASA plans to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, likely with a six-person crew of different specialists. You recently completed a report that enumerates 1,125 tasks that crew could face. Did you find any gaps in NASA’s planning? >A: ***The three most recent NASA Mars mission plans did not include a pilot***, assuming piloting and navigation would be automated or directed from Earth. ***I seriously doubt that you would get professional astronauts to go on a mission with no human pilot, only a computer, meaning they wouldn’t survive if the computer and communications failed.*** >***NASA assumed Mars explorers would use the standard, gas-pressurized space suit.*** But if you get a wheel of your rover stuck in the loose sand and rocks on the Martian surface—as happened to the character Mark Watney in the film The Martian—you have to kneel to dig it out. **That would be impossible wearing a gas-pressurized suit. They’ll need a mechanical pressure suit, or some sort of hybrid, that enables more flexibility.***


I worked for the US Antarctic program for many winters. You need to have perspective above anything else to endure those. Very similar to a potential Mars mission. Random anecdote: I worked with Christina Koch at Palmer Station. She’s in orbit now on the ISS.


Ngl the guy on the thumbnail looks exactly like Dr. Phil


Does anybody know where I can get a copy of the report. Clicked the link but didn’t see any spot to download