Thursday, May 29, 2003

NASA and the No-Win Scenario

Kobayashi Maru "No Win" Scenario Debated at NASA

"Star Trek movie series fans will recall the Kobayashi Maru scenario when Star Fleet Cadet James T. Kirk beat the "no win" and cheated what was otherwise a certain virtual reality simulated death.

Kirk reprogrammed the simulation computers --- he cheated the Star Fleet Academy death simulation earning him a commendation for original thinking instead of expulsion and reprimand. But that was science fiction.... in reality there is the Columbia scenario.


Should NASA train astronauts with the Kobayashi Maru?

The ill-fated de-orbit catastrophic loss of the US Space Shuttle Columbia is causing many inside and outside the space agency to make a serious judgment call on human life. And not how to find it or even save it, but how best to train to end it.

Should American astronauts be informed that the chances of their safe return to Earth are nil --- their real "Kobayashi Maru? " Should the astronaut training program train with certain death virtual simulations?"

I think the arguments for informing the crew far outweigh the arguments against. In another interesting parallel, in this case the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many....

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