Scientific studies so far, either in distant parts such as Antarctica or protracted exclusion experiments on simulated space bases on Earth, show that a sense of isolation and monotony can burden the mental state of the participants, so it is vital to have fun. One of the members of the mission must play the role of the clown to raise the mora of the company with its jokes.
With this very reason, the anthropologist Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, of the University of Florida, has undertaken to examine whether this is indeed necessary and feasible in future space travel. Johnson has so far studied four NASA astronauts teams who have spent 30 to 60 days in a Human Exploration Research Analoga-HERA in Houston, Texas.
He had previously studied isolated groups that lived in bases of the US, Russia, Poland, China and India in the Antarctic, as well as fishing missions in Alaska. In all cases, he found the vital role of a comedian in the isolated group.
The announcement was made by the American scientist at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, according to the British “Guardian” and “Indepedent”. As Johnson said, “clowns are people who have the ability to create team spirit, bridge differences when tensions appear and really stimulate morale.”
The roughly eight-month trip to Mars – and even more so to stay there – will require a level of isolation that has not been back in space history. Johnson reminded that cook Adolf Linstrom, who accompanied the famous explorer Norwegian explorer Ronald Amudsen and was distinguished for his humor, made an important contribution to the success of the South Pole mission.
As Amudsen wrote in his diary, “Linstrom has provided larger and more valuable services to the Norwegian mission than any other man.”Johnson emphasized that “a mission to Mars will need a guy like Linzrom, someone who will break the tension, unite people.
” Of course, before the clowns start preparing their resume for Mars, as Johnson said, they should take into account that other talents will be needed. “They should also be excellent scientists and engineers and capable of undergoing the difficult training of the astronaut …”.
NASA plans to send astronauts to the Moon in 2023 as an intermediate step to send astronauts to Mars, perhaps in 2033. Russians and Chinese have similar plans for the 2040s, as well as US space companies with more advanced Space X of Ellon Musk.