Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Bloody Nose, Sexual Harassment and a Deserter (after _?_ days) - Part 2

Implications are being swept under the carpet...
Continuation from background in Monday's Part 1 ...


THERE ARE PLENTY of technical problems on the way to Mars: how to avoid excess radiation, maintain food supplies, and generally not die. But the real hazard between here and there is going nuts. That's why this spring, six participants in the European Space Agency and Russia's Institute for Biomedical Problems's Mars500 program are going to lock themselves in a series of metal tubes in a facility in Moscow for 520 days, rougly the time it should take to travel 100 million miles to Mars, spend 30 days there, and return. ... A similar experiment by the Institute for Biomedical Problems in 1999 ended in a bloody nose, sexual harassment and a deserter-after only 110 days.

Readers will note the type of notorious, 1999 experiment (Sphinx-99) had been recommended in 1997 by a NASA TASK Force in Final Report on Countermeasures [APPENDIX F-3, recommendations of the Behavior and Performance Working Group (BPWG), BPWG's eleven General recommendations, found on page F-10]:

Research on gender with respect to behavior and performance on space missions needs to be assessed with respect to space crews, ground crews, families. [color emphasis added]

As a result of the ensuing sexual assault, attempted murder, and battery there was Crimes in Space: A criminological and criminal justice approach to criminal acts in outer space, by Dr. Julian Hermida, Assistant Professor of Law, Algoma University, Canada. Here are some excerpts:

Both the United States and Russia have conducted a series of experiments in space and on earth aimed at testing human responses to isolation conditions in outer space[23]. One of the most notorious examples is the experience conducted by the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems in 1998 and 1999[24]. In this experience, seven male astronauts of Russian and Japanese nationalities and a female Canadian astronaut –Judith Lapierre- spent 110 days aboard a replica of the Mir space station. Astronauts conducted several scientific experiments for different agencies and the Institute of Biomedical Problems analyzed the astronauts’ adaptability to a space-like environment[25].

The experiment attracted international attention as several crimes were committed in the station. Two Russian astronauts committed battery, assault and attempted murder and one of them –the Russian commander- also sexually assaulted and harassed Judith Lapierre[26]. Russian officials tried to minimize these incidents but the Canadian reaction against the sexual assault virtually derived in a diplomatic conflict[27].

At several occasions during the 110-day experiment, Judith Lapierre reported that she feared she would be sexually attacked
[28]. However, Russian authorities did nothing to protect her, in part because they were interested in studying human reaction, including criminal and deviant behavior, to isolation in outer space[29].

What we were not told: The Russians miscreants had been in the modules for six months (> 180 days), not just 110 days. Furthermore, Russian space psychologists alleged Dr. Judith Lapierre exhibited hysteria and depression during the experiment. The Russians also suggested that she had unintentionally provoked the Russian misbehavior. Under pressure from the Canadian Space Agency, however, the Russians backed off on their charges. more.

In late 2007, a 14-day 'quickie' experiment inside the Mars-500 facility was conducted. The all- Russian crew included 5 men and 1 woman (Marina Petrovna Tugusheva). What conclusion was drawn from a mere 14 days isolation? Here:

The female presence in the crew did not prove disruptive as all knew that they had to behave professionally. Women in future crews are now a possibility – previously they [women] were not to be included. [color emphasis added]

2009 105-day mission precursor (delayed from 2008)

E-mail (40-minute simulated delays) with family and friends will be allowed (and monitored), but there will be no Internet access. 'Free access to information may produce catastrophic results,' says Larisa Chevelyova, the program psychologist. Again, Russian woman Tugusheva, Marina Petrovna/Тугушева Марина Петровна (1983). Biologist, Researcher IMBP, is the only woman in the crew.

MARS-500 will be a ground-based experiment simulating manned flight to Mars at the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The experiment is slated to last between 520 and 700 days. Crew selection / training is now progress. YouTube:

Submarines are always silent and strange. Things are about to get stranger.



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