Summary of Web Chat amongst participants on crew selection
The following is a summarized version of the more relevant part of the chat held amongst Mars Academy participants prior to the chat with Drs. Stuster and Bachelard.
Alicia Merrill: The criteria to be used for crew selection should be based on physical restraints as well as those who have a knowledge in the field
Mars Academy: Should we take pilots or scientists/astronauts? As unmanned probes have already landed successfully on Mars, can we afford a pilot?
Shawn Iden: Since this is a very unique mission, I think that several aspects in addition to normal requirements need to be looked at. For instance, how potential crew members deal with each other over long periods of time.
Nuno Vicente: I think that we should, beyond the criteria above mentioned, be looking for people who can develop a social life throughout the trip, since it will be very long.
Alicia Merrill: There should be a propotional mixture of scientists and pilots. Obviously, more scientists are needed since the computer systems on board are easy to handle. All of the crew selected should be compatible and able to deal well with others over a long period of time.
Cullen Adams: Maybe we should try couples on the flight
Mars Academy: In real plans for Mars missions, (Mars direct) there are no plans to take pilots. Any comments?
Nuno Vicente: Pilots are NOT essencial to our trip. We should be focusing in people that suit to a good number of technical requirements at once instead of specialists. We cannot afford buying a ticket to everybody.
Shawn Iden: Obviously, the crew members should be highly aware of the dangers they will face. No mission like this has ever been attempted. There are many new dangers (Gamma rays, Solar Flares,etc.) that have to be faced. There is a good possibility that one or more crew members may have serious health problems.
Alicia Merrill: Since we can never be sure of the potential of this voyage. Pilot(s) ARE needed to handle technical problems that might arise.
Troy Fox: Couples may get in fights, but they can work them out. Plus couples work well together and can communicate quickly in tight situations. Often times couples don't need to complete sentences to get messages across.
Cullen Adams: Why is a pilot not essential? What if the systems fail and he is needed?
Kali Miller: If there are no pilots who's going to take the people to Mars. I highly think that there need to be trained people in that field for a successful mission not just regular people. Let's be realistic. Please explain this to me!
Mars Academy: If the guidance systems are automatic, we only need somebody to overrule the system in case of emergency.
Nuno Vicente: I think that a person involved in the conception of the systems should handle them during the trip, by going with them.
Alicia Merrill: Even if the systems are automatic, there can be system failures where a simple overriding of the system is not enough. We mave have mechanical errors. If this is just set on a course, what if we encounter debris or something to that effect.
Troy Fox: But we have no idea what emergencies we will run into. Auto systems can come across problems that are too advanced for a person with a crash course in the system to handel. Plus, if they overried the systems, they need to know what to do next
Cullen Adams: We should have a mixed crew because women are psychologically resilient
Shawn Iden: It should not be all male, but males definitely have an advantage over females in strength. The crew should be somewhere around a 3-2 male to female ratio.
Mars Academy: We must agree on functions of the people and on the minimum crew for operational reasons. Then, when we deal with propulsion, we can decide if we can afford the extra people.
Alicia Merrill: It is essential that we have a mixed crew. No one sex should be sent to live only amongst themselves. We do not know what abnormalities might occur.
Cullen Adams: The more people we have the more life support systems, the more weight, the fuel, the more money, we cannot afford to have too many people
Kali Miller: Having only married couples would be to hard because of fights, divorces and most married people want to settle down with kids don't they?
Alicia Merrill: Not only married couples. I believe singles should be able to come, but all crew members need to be tested for compatibility. If they are singled, married, whatever as long as they can unite for the general good of the mission and can get along.
Shawn Iden: I don't think that issue really makes a difference, although single people surrounded by married couples might get lonely.
Mars Academy: There is a study from the University of Hawaii that says that only married couples should be allowed to go. How does this affect crew selection?
Nuno Vicente: We were discussing on essential people to take on our mission. If we take couples, we are diminishing the space for the crew if they are not both very well qualified.
Kali Miller: Very professional single people would be most suited because of ambition and lack of commitments. They could just leave earth without problems.
Troy Fox: I think that we should establish a crew of both males and females. Then we need to have them live together for about a year or more to let them get to know each other and to see if they will work well together
Kali Miller: Maybe we should take the most qualified people married or Not married and if a couple can give us a commitment that they will work hard toward the success of our mission they will go.
Troy Fox: I think that qualified couples should take priority over the singles. But their qualification and usefulness should be the main focus
Nuno Vicente: If it turns out that two of our selected crew are a couple, better yet. Otherwise, I think that we are not qualified to say that a couple is better than singles. We need the psychologists here.
Mars Academy: We need to define the issue. What should the functions of the crew be: pilot, doctor, ??
Alicia Merrill: We need a pilot, doctor, and specialty scientists.
Cullen Adams: We need a pilot a doctor, a geologist, a biologist.
Shawn Iden: We will definitely need a geologist. I'm not too sure about a biologist, but I think one should be included, since I think everybody here believes that there was a possibility that life once existed on Mars.
Morningside Elementary: We think that you should not have single roles for each crew member. The pilot should also be a skilled biologist, for example. The crew physician should also be a skilled geologist, and so on.
Shawn Iden: That's a great idea. Multiskilled crew members can save a lot of money and resources.
Mars Academy: What sort of skills should all members share?
Kali Miller: Medical skills should be shared.
Cullen Adams: Medical, even if minor, and all should take a crash course at piloting
Troy Fox: A doctor would also be need to look after the physical well being of the crew. A Biologist would be able to study the land, determine if there is any life, or if ther could be any life, there A geologist could study the ground and rocks and decide where the land would be suitable for a settlement A pilot would make sure the actual flight went well and be ready for emergencies
Shawn Iden: All members should know a little about medical care, in case an emergency should arise. All crew members should also know a fair amount about planetary geology.
Nuno Vicente: Good Mechanics and piloting principles, someone that knows of psychology and medicine, a geologist/biologist...
Alicia Merrill: All members should at least have some background information on the other areas such as, the pilot shouldn't have to be a skilled biologist, but have some general or slightly specific knowledge in Biology.
Mars Academy: Shouldn't the doctor and biologist be the same person? Should geology be a part of following missions?
Alicia Merrill: The doctor and biologist can't be the same person. Doctors aren't as skilled in other things beside the human form and we don't know what we could be dealing with.
Troy Fox: I think taking a Biologist and training him in medicine would be good. If the biologist is trained in general medicine then He/she could fix most physical problems. And to be realistic, if anything serious happens, we will probably lose the crew member.
Mars Academy: To sum up: we have a pilot, doctor/biologist, engineer, and scientist. We have a mixed crew, preferably two married couples.