Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mars: extroverts need not apply

I may be well-suited for space travel after all.

Extroverts, while having an advantage with most things in life, are not ideal personality types for prolonged flights through space.  This as found in research from DePaul University (go Blue Demons!) The Atlantic article where I found the study frames the results in terms of a Mars expedition.  Logical I suppose for Mars is the longest manned mission currently being planned.  Also, it's a one-way trip.  You're not coming back.

It's not too difficult to discern why extroverts might not be good fits for a mission to Mars.  As a member of such a crew, you would be one of several people in a confined space for...well, the rest of your life in one way or another.  Whether it's "floating in a tin can" as the venerable David Bowie would say or living and working within the colony structures, you will again know the feeling of being truly "outside." Try putting yourself in the place of an introverted or at least more reserved crew member as somebody comes into your compartment bouncing like a tennis ball and wanting to talk your ear off.  Most of us have had it happen either at work meetings, dreadful parties, or road trips.  In fact, that latter example may well underscore the point.

As the study found:

"In one study of a spacecraft simulation, an extroverted team member was ostracized by two other members who were more reserved, Bell said. 'They thought he was too brash, and would speak his mind too much, and talk too much.' "

And the questions.  Geez, their incessant questions!

I want to be fair to extroverts for a moment.  There are a few that I genuinely like having around me.  In the classroom they help lead to engaging and often productive discussions.  On a personal level they help me to get my views out and to talk things through.  They are also great sources of comfort in times of dismay.  In further support of extroverts...and no, I am not transfiguring into one before your eyes...they would likely find great suffering on Mars.  They require prolonged interpersonal contact and with as much of a variety of people as possible.  Long stretches of isolation would no doubt be murderous for them.

Wow.  Mars is sounding more and more appealing to me by the moment.

Nah, I'm not so sure I mean that anymore.  Mars ain't the kind of place to find happiness.

In fact it's cold as hell.

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1 comment:

  1. The more I think about it, a solo mission to Mars might just be the best thing for me. No one to hurt you there.


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