7 thoughts on “Disasters In Deep Space”

  1. How did people react to disasters when Clipper Ships foundered doubling the Horn?

    They shrugged their shoulders and went on with their lives….

    Mainly because they didn’t know about it. Daddy went to sea, and didn’t come home. The 86,400 second news cycle demands news, and makes a disaster.

    1. I was thinking something along the same lines but the article is about how people experiencing the disaster act. But it turns out the answer is the same. People will react to disasters in space the same way they do other disasters people are involved in. Humans gonna human.

  2. The Birkenhead Drill
    Rudyard Kipling’s “Soldier an’ Sailor Too”(1893):
    To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about,
    Is nothing so bad when you’ve cover to ‘and, an’ leave an’ likin’ to shout;
    But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew,
    An’ they done it, the Jollies — ‘Er Majesty’s Jollies — soldier an’ sailor too!
    Their work was done when it ‘adn’t begun; they was younger nor me an’ you;
    Their choice it was plain between drownin’ in ‘eaps an’ bein’ mopped by the screw,
    So they stood an’ was still to the Birken’ead drill, soldier an’ sailor too

  3. Do we really care how they react as long as no one can hear them scream?

    I figure the people trying to solve the problem will try to solve the problem, and depending on how long events take to transpire, everyone else will at least have time to think “Uh oh. This isn’t good!”

    Communications certainly adds to the public reaction, but we’ve always had disasters, and in all the same flavors we’ll find in space. The crashing plane, the burning building, the ship whose passengers know it’s sinking, the marooned crew that knows the food is running out, the submariners who can only peck on the hull, the reactor operator who peers through a door and sees smoke whirling around Chernobyl’s burning reactor core, the primary voter who knows it’s down to Bernie or Biden.

  4. Crew selection for the early missions to Mars (and to an extent, long duration on the moon) will be interesting. You start with the set of skills needed to fulfill the mission. You’ll need someone skilled at fixing every system on the vehicles and the habitat. You’ll need medical expertise because people can get sick or injured. For Mars, you’ll likely also want someone – perhaps a pathologist – able to study any possible microorganisms they might happen to find. What other skills will be required? Leadership comes to mind. I’m sure there are many others.

    Once you’ve determined the required set of skills, you have to look at how many crew members will be making the trip. You’ll need to find people who have at least one of the critical skills, then train them to do other skills to help with the workload or to fill in should you lose a crew member. Training for a Mars mission will likely take years. Of course, that training will include countless hours in simulators running all sorts of scenarios to get the crew ready to handle any foreseeable problem. You also want to develop within the crew the cohesiveness and problem-solving skills necessary to fix problems that were not foreseen (e.g. no one trained for an Apollo 13-style oxygen tank failure but they rose to the occasion when it happened).

    Shit will happen. It always does. You’ll want people who are used to dealing with adversity. No snowflakes allowed.

    1. Instead, why don’t we send an example of every stereotype, or let an Ivy League diversity set the quotas, and market the mission as a reality show?

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