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Weak spots for Mission to Mars revealed

Researchers are developing a predictive model to help NASA anticipate conflicts and communication breakdowns among crew members and head off problems that could make or break the Mission to Mars.

Communication delays with worldwide mission controls will exceed the 20-minute mark. In that sense, the Mars mission will be like no mission that has come before.

Their NASA studies address different aspects of the crew's challenges:

  1. The likelihood that the crew and its support teams on Earth will have good chemistry and coping mechanisms; how to predict possible crew-compatibility outcomes

  2. Work design; structuring the workflow so that astronauts can better manage transitions from solo to team tasks

  3. Identifying and building shared mental models, whereby a team of varied specialists can find enough common ground to effectively accomplish their tasks but not so much that they engage in "group think" or form alliances.


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