Want to be a Martian? These qualities can take you to Mars

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New Delhi | Updated: May 29, 2018 4:00:11 PM

If you are a team player and have a good sense of humour, you qualify to take a ship to Mars! That's right. According to scientists, these two traits among astronauts may be essential if humanity hopes to establish a colony on Mars.

If you are a team player and have a good sense of humour, you qualify to take a ship to Mars! (Image: Fox Digital)

If you are a team player and have a good sense of humour, you qualify to take a ship to Mars! That’s right. According to scientists, these two traits among astronauts may be essential if humanity hopes to establish a colony on Mars. Researchers have suggested that astronauts who are highly emotionally stable, agreeable, open to new experiences, conscientious, resilient, adaptable and not too introverted or extroverted are more likely to work well with others.

This revelation by scientists suggests that understanding the psychological dynamics of a group trapped in a confined space for months is just as important as technology.

Lauren Blackwell Landon, a research scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center in the US, has said that teamwork and collaboration are critical components of all space flights and will be even more important for astronauts during long-duration missions, such as to Mars. A sense of humour will also help defuse tense situations.

Landon added that the astronauts will be months away from home, confined to a vehicle no larger than a mid-sized RV for two to three years and there will be an up to 45-minute lag on communications to and from Earth. Landon said that successfully negotiating conflict, planning together as a team, making decisions as a team and practising shared leadership should receive extensive attention long before a team launches on a space mission.

Scientists say that psychological research on spaceflight is limited, especially regarding teams. Researchers offered insights into how NASA can assemble the best teams possible to ensure successful long-duration missions. The long delay in communication to and from Earth will mean that crews will have to be highly autonomous as they will not be able to rely on immediate help from Mission Control.

This delay in communication will be a major challenge, having defined goals, building trust, developing communication norms and debriefing will help alleviate potential conflict. Researchers also advised the use of technology to monitor the physiological health of astronauts to predict points of friction among team members.

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