Extroverted friends are good for a lot of things—serving as deft and lively wingmen, spicing up book club, sparking interesting conversations at parties by wearing ostentatious leggings, etc.
One thing they may be less suited for: Long voyages to faraway planets.
Scientists are starting to think seriously about a manned flight to Mars. NASA is working on a spacecraft that could eventually make it to the red planet and back. Netherlands-based Mars One plans to send a team of astronauts to Mars in 2024 to establish a permanent human colony. That's right: the Mars One is a one-way trip. These people are going to have to get along.
DePaul University psychologist Suzanne Bell has been studying the personality types that would perform best on these prolonged, isolated journeys. In a recent poster presentation at Association for Psychological Science in San Francisco, she discussed the results of her review of research of personality types in "space analogue environments."
The main finding: When selecting astronauts for your Mars adventure, you may want to choose among the strong, silent types. (Emphasis on the silent.) In isolated contexts, extroverts may be perceived as "demanding of attention and intrusive," and "their level of warmth may be undesirable in a confined setting."