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Group 159. The ‘Group 159’ News. An Assignment 2 group case study. - Since 01/08/2011. ‘A Mir kiss’? What on Earth caused Mars behaviour experiment to fail!.

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Group 159

The ‘Group 159’ News

An Assignment 2 group case study

- Since 01/08/2011

‘A Mir kiss’?

What on Earth caused Mars behaviour experiment to fail!

Psychologists at Moscow’s Institute of Medical and Biomedical Problems (IMBP), conducted an experiment to learn more about the effects of sustained isolation in space travel .

An international crew of seven males and one female (Judith Lapierre) were selected for this experiment, designed to last 240 days inside a simulated Russian space station.

As well as unexpected violence, claims that Lapierre was grabbed and kissed aggressively by a colleague against her will have since surfaced, and have been met with denial and contradictions by Russian officials.

(above): Cosmonauts Inside the simulated Russian space station, extract curtesy of ‘bigger brother’

(inset right): Judith Lapierre


Group 159

  • Summary
  • Experiment set up
  • Integration
  • Leadership
  • Team development
  • Support Mechanisms
  • Conclusion
  • References
mir kiss case study summary

Group 159

Eight representatives from five different cultures took part in an isolation experiment conducted by psychologists from the Institute of Medical and Biomedical Problems (IMBP) in Moscow. The objective of the experiment was to learn more about the dynamics of long-term space isolation in preparation for a trip to Mars. The Mars trip was a joint international project that was to be carried out by the International Space Station. The crew consisted of four Russians including a Commander, an Austrian, a Japanese, and one French Canadian crew member. NASA, France and the Ukraine had been invited to participate in the experiment, but after reviewing the proposed protocols, they declined. With the exception of the Canadian crew member, Lapierre, all of the other crew members were male. The international team welcomed the addition of a female member to the crew, whereas the Russians expressed that a female would be “good” as long as she did not consider herself an “equal” but rather a “mother” to the Russian cosmonauts. The Russian cosmonauts had already spent 120 days in the isolation chamber when Lapierre had joined them and had 120 days remaining to complete their 240 day mission. The crew were completely self contained in the isolation chamber and had contact with the control centre who was monitoring their behaviour. All the crew spoke English as a second language. Before joining the experiment, Lapirre was of the expectation that the control centre would also be communicating in English. However, just over a month into the experiment tensions arose and conflict escalated resulting in the international crew barricading their cabin door and finally, one of the internationals exiting the mission early.


Group 159


Americans and French declined to participate in the experiment due to lack of protocols

Lapierre was expecting another female crew member

Lapierre was expecting control to speak English

Russian crew had already been in isolation for 120 days before internationals had arrived

The use of alcohol and alcohol intoxication was permitted

Female crew member Lapierre was sexually harassed by intoxicated Russian Commander

Intoxicated Russians from group one physically assaulted each other which led to bloodshed International crew hid knives as feared for the safety of the Russians who had threatened to kill each one another

No formal rules, protocols or procedures were set in place to deal with the use of alcohol, intoxication, violence and sexual harassment

Japanese crew member made early exit from experiment due to lack of responsible follow up of the violence

Claim of sexual harassment made by Lapierre was dismissed as a cultural misunderstanding

Russian crew consisted of four male Russians, including the CommanderInternational crew consisted of two males from Austria and Japan and one French Canadian female


Group 159