Learning about team training from NASA’s mission to Mars

With the success of the Mars Curiosity rover, NASA is shooting for the stars, with the goal of setting foot on Mars by the mid-2030s. To accomplish this feat, the astronauts will face long hours, high stakes, close quarters, and little leeway for inefficiency or error–many of the same challenges that startups and small businesses encounter.

“We’ll be sending a team that has to rely on themselves to solve their problems because of the communication lag,” explains Eduardo Salas, a psychologist at the University of Central Florida who has been called in as a team training consultant for the mission to Mars. “They need the skills to self-correct.”

Much like a traditional business team, the crew will undergo NASA’s comprehensive team training program. “We offer classes on cross-cultural training, conflict management, self care and self-management, and we review teamwork lessons from past expeditions,” says Walter Sikes, an aerospace psychologist for the Behavioral Health and Performance Element at NASA.

Read the full list of skills Salas and Sikes recommend here.


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