Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Psychological Officers" - Submarine - Part 3

Although better ballasted than astronauts, submariners, too, have their drill sessions. And, as author Sherry Sontag reminds us:

These new missions were so deeply cloaked in secrecy that thousands of men went out - often for months at a time - never telling anyone where they were going, or why. They didn't tell their wives, their children, their parents, their best friends. And for good reason. source

Triton's submerged circumnavigation feat was nearly ruined by unforeseen events. First, Chief Radarman (RDC) John R. Poole began suffering a series of kidney stones. Next, the ship's fathometer malfunctioned so the risks of grounding or collision were elevated. Then, readings on one of the reactors indicated a serious malfunction which required shutdown. True to their reputation for resourcefulness, however, submariners prevailed to overcome each obstacle, including a medical transfer:

As ''Triton'' passed the east coast of South America, Chief Radarman John R. Poole, began suffering from a kidney stone. His symptoms, beginning on 1 March, were interrmittent, so the boat continued south. On 3 March, ''Triton'' raised the Falkland Islands on radar and prepared to conduct photoreconnaissance of Port Stanley, but before they could sight the islands, Poole's condition worsened so that Captain Beach ordered their course reversed and send a radio message describing the situation. ''Triton'' rendezvoused with the heavy cruiser USS Macon (CA-132) off Montevideo and transferred Poole.
Some spaceflight medical requirements can be extrapolated from the Evidence Base of Extended-Duration Submarine Missions.

Medical events during submarine missions are instructive as they occur in a confined, remote environment where there is limited diagnostic and therapeutic support. They occur in an atmosphere where potentially life-threatening or other severe medical illnesses can end a mission, in the sense that the submarine is required to interrupt or even abort its mission.

Spaceflight is extremely risky. Humans in deep space would have neither a capability for real-time communication with Earth nor a timely return. The critical health issues for long-duration missions are severe: radiation; loss of bone mineral density; and behavioral adaptation. Given current science and technology a mission to Mars would effectively be a one-way trip for a healthy astronaut.

The wisdom of females in space is still a very open question. Astronauts have volunteered to be human experiments in ways that are decidedly not for the fainthearted.

What has been learned about the effects of microgravity on the human body comes mostly from missions into space. The loss of bone mineral density and deep space radiation exposure alone are daunting.

Recommended Reading: SAFE PASSAGE Astronaut Care for Exploration Missions John R. Ball and Charles H. Evans, Jr., Editors NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, DC

It contains dozens of interesting submarine references.

Predicting behavioral interactions of team members is complicated with mixed genders on long duration spaceflights. Psychotic episodes on the ISS have been reported and occur at an expected rate of over 50% per astronaut per year, as it is.

Next, psychologists and Goldilocks.


At 17 December, 2008 20:55, Blogger oldboater said...

In regards to the PersTrans on the Triton with USS Macon - The Commanding Officer of USS Macon was the highly decorated Captain Reuben T. Whitaker, who was the Commanding Officer of USS Flasher in WWII who was awarded 3 Navy Crosses and 4 Silver Stars.

At 22 December, 2008 10:02, Blogger Vigilis said...

Oldboater, nice catch. Thanks for sharing those amazing facts which deserved mention, but had escaped our attention.


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