Thursday, January 10, 2013
Recent 520-day simulations of the Mars mission found astronauts could be in trouble if their sleep patterns don’t remain similar to those patterns on earth.
A recent article on TheNews.com shared details from the recent simulations. Six volunteers participated in a three phase simulation to Mars. The volunteers stayed in a 550 cubic meter confinement facility in Russia on June 3, 2010.
More than 90 experiments were conducted to monitor the crew’s sleep, performance and psychological responses to confinement to determine the impact of sleep loss, fatigue, stress, mood changes and personal conflicts.
Participants' body movements were monitored and they answered weekly questionnaires. Researchers found that participants became sluggish as the mission continued. There were also disturbances in sleep quality, alertness deficiencies or altered sleep-wake intervals and timing.
The conclusion: Spacecraft and surface habitats will need to artificially mimic aspects of Earth's sleep-wake cycles, such as appropriately timed light exposure, food intake and exercise.
For more on the research, visit TheNews.com.
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