Their lifeline is currently a 6 inch wide bore hole drilled down from the surface, which will be used to pass supplies down to them in capsules, each taking about an hour to descend.
NASA experts, having long experience of dealing with astronauts ‘cut-off’ from planet Earth for long periods of time, are being consulted about how to help the men survive their long period of dark isolation, and how to keep them healthy and sane.
Dr Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s life-sciences division for almost a decade, and specializing in the effects of stress on people in extreme situations, emphasized in a recent Newsweek article the importance of the miners being able to talk to someone ‘outside’ of their situation, saying that “In a spacecraft or a mine they are helpless; they depend completely on support from the outside world.”
Dr Vernikos further discusses the longer term implications for the men and their families when they eventually emerge from the isolation that they will have experienced, and attempt to readapt to ‘normality’.
To see the full article, click the link below to take you to the Newsweek webpage: