clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why boredom could be deadly on the long trip to Mars

New, 74 comments

Forget the deadly radiation, a seven-month trip to Mars is going to be very very boring. At least that's what worrying researchers in the NASA-funded Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project. According to the New York Times, boredom's effect on human brain activity is largely unstudied, but scientists are worried that a lack of stimulation could be extremely detrimental. Researchers at HI-SEAS are attempting to understand the effects of boredom and searching for innovative ways to keep astronauts' brains entertained.

Abnormal behavior, such as manic pacing and self-injury, has been documented in captive animals who lack any form of mental stimuli. Similarly, isolated scientists in Antarctica have exhibited strange behaviors, such as wandering outside in sub-zero temperatures without proper attire. Even the smallest errors can be deadly when floating millions of miles from earth, so understanding and combating extreme boredom could make or break a manned Mars mission.