"A re we ready for long space missions?", asks Valentin Lebedev, a space pilot, a RAS Corresponding Member in the article published in the Trud newspaper. This is a good question, quite to the point: for many years scientific and research institutes and design offices have been working on the project of a manned mission to Mars. The long-term orbital stations are a foretype of interplanetary spaceships. They are naturally "tied up" to Earth, where they get commands and assistance from, but the work of men in deep space will need absolute independence.
In other words, the author underlines, the Flight Control Center will have to delegate its functions to a space crew who will embark on an "autonomous flight". The spacemen will be left alone with equipment in the strange and hostile environment, they will have to take care of space navigation, compute spaceship control modes and make decisions-down to their return back to Earth. Spacemen in orbit have to do all kinds of hand work-fixing, repairing, and the like. Not much time left for the sights of the globe, no time for reveling in for gaining new knowledge during observations and solving research problems. For instance, the two crewmen on the International Space Station (ISS) have to work 120 hours a week, with the maintenance of ISS taking 111 hours. Of course in this situation there cannot be any serious creative feedback.
To change this situation, the author proposes to train space crews to work with equipment independently, to form their own view on developments and become capable of independent decision making.
Furthermore the world of space is so rich: polar lights, geology, upper atmosphere, glaciers, volcanoes, oceans, and so forth-to get every crew member busy; each and everyone has to find himself on particular work.
One specific area is not sufficient for getting to the root of the problem, it is also necessary to be conversant with astrophysics, biology, the materials science, medicine and other fields. Otherwise it will be hard to concentrate on the subject matter and perform well thereby.
At the end of his article V. Lebedev compares the jobs done by seamen and spacemen. The former conquer seas and oceans, while the latter undertake journeys to the void. Only most competent and capable space pilots with a good experience in orbital space flights should venture far into the expanses of the Universe.
Humankind has made great progress since the beginning of the space era, and it cannot afford to fall in for political ambitions and shows of high-tech and human endurance records. This is what one should be aware of before flying to Mars. Unless we share the same views on the future, the anticipated results will not compensate for the damage done by a spirit of competition to prove one's superiority. The exploration of the universe should proceed alongside the maturation of human consciousness.
Trud newspaper, 2005
Prepared by Yaroslav RENKAS
Permanent link to this publication:
LVietnam LWorld Y G