A lot of research is devoted to the study of the psychological and physiological consequences of total isolation – like interplanetary missions. Russian scientists presented the results of one of the largest experiments in this regard.
Within the framework of the project “Scientific international research of a unique ground station” (SIRIUS) of the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia), two experiments were carried out in 2017 and 2019.
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The first lasted 17 days, the second – 120. Representatives of different countries and cultures, both genders, took part in them, and the results were published yesterday in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.
The project is devoted to the study of the influence of isolation on the psychological and physiological processes of a person. The goal is to prepare for missions to other planets, primarily to Mars.
“The crews of such missions, as a rule, reduce communication with the Control Center, share their needs and problems less and less,” said Dmitry Shved, one of the authors of the study.
“Increased contact has been observed during important events such as simulated landing.”
Changes in behavior were recorded by recording conversations, as well as facial expressions and acoustic characteristics of speech (intensity, frequency and variability).
During the first 10 days of the 2019 mission, scientists made 320 audio recordings of conversations lasting about 11 hours. But in the last 10 days, the number of calls has decreased to 34, and their duration – to 77 minutes.
On the 11th day of the experiment, the researchers modeled an artificial delay in communication with the Earth, similar to that experienced by settlers on the Moon or Mars.
Interestingly, under such conditions, scientists noted differences in communication between the men and women participating in the experiment. In the former, the emotions of anger were observed to a greater extent, and in the latter, joy and sadness. But by the end of the experiment, these differences were smoothed out.
Scientists, in principle, observed an increasing autonomy from the Mission Control Center on Earth for all crew members and, at the same time, their strong cohesion with each other by the time the experiment was completed: people became close, regardless of gender, nationality and cultural differences.
According to the researchers, this looks promising for future interplanetary missions. The last part of the experiment began last week, November 4th, and conclusions about it later will complement this picture.