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NASA May Enlist Astronauts, Celebrities to Entertain Trapped Chile Miners

"The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration may help organize astronauts and celebrities to entertain 33 miners trapped in a mine in Chile during a rescue that may take as much as four months. The miners, who have been trapped in the San Jose underground mine in the Atacama Desert for a record 26 days, have already received messages of support from Chilean soccer star Ivan Zamorano and the national coach Marcelo Bielsa and have spoken on the phone with President Sebastian Pinera. "As we progress through in the coming weeks and months there might be an opportunity to have others make contact with the miners," James Duncan, deputy chief medical officer at the Johnson Space Center, told reporters in Santiago today. They may include famous Chileans or NASA astronauts, he said."

On ice and in space, lessons for Chilean miners, Washington Post

"The lessons that could help keep 33 trapped Chilean miners safe and sane during their months underground were learned at desperate times in isolated places: ice-bound sailing ships, prisoner-of-war camps, malfunctioning capsules whizzing through space."

Bold Endeavors: Lessons from Polar and Space Exploration, Jack Stuster, Excerpt from "Risk and Exploration: Earth, Sea, and the Stars", NASA SP-4701

"What happened on board the Belgica is well-documented. The crew gradually slipped into a malaise that was paralyzing to some of them. One man died because of what Cook thought was the effects of the isolation and confinement. One man developed a temporary deafness. Another man developed a temporary blindness. One man, each night, would find a place below deck where he could hide and sleep, because he thought people were going to kill him. Roald Amundsen served his apprenticeship as an explorer as mate on the Belgica, and later wrote, "Insanity and disease stalked the decks of the Belgica that winter." He credited Frederick Cook with saving the expedition from certain psychological collapse."

Keith's note: I took Jack Stuster's book "Bold Endeavors" to Everest Base Camp with me in 2009. Alas, I did not really read much there. I read some of Edmund Hillary's "High Adventure" (still very accurate, 50 years on), "The Ascent of Rum Doodle" ("send down more champagne" - a requirement), and a portion of Jack's book that focused on polar epics - until it got too cold to turn the pages, that is. Another lesson to be learned: let's invent books that turn their own pages at -20F (hint to iPad developers).

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 1, 2010 8:53 AM.

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