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Antarctica Provides ICE to Study Behavior Effects in Astronauts

By Keith Cowing

A trip to the Red Planet begins long in advance of liftoff.

NASA’s journey to Mars includes preparing astronauts to cope with several months of isolation, confinement, and in an extreme environment (identified with the acronym ICE). One of the best ways to Study this on Earth is by observing others who also spend several months on actual ice in Antarctica.

NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, have a new collaborative agreement to study the effects of living in the polar environment.

In an initial research collaboration, a study developed and led by Dr. Candice Alfano, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Houston, will analyze people who work in Antarctica for long periods of time.

It’s relatively simple to place subjects in isolation or confinement for the purpose of studying mood and behavior, but the extreme environment element is harder to find.

Sometimes called “White Mars,” Antarctica is perfect because “you can’t walk off the ice. That goes for whether you’re having a health, behavioral health or a personal issue, you’re not going anywhere,” said Lisa Spence, project manager for NASA flight analogs in the Human Research Program. “That is very similar to …read more

Source:: Antarctica Provides ICE to Study Behavior Effects in Astronauts

      

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