“A Mars mission will need a Lindstrom-like figure, somebody who can break the tension, can bring people together.
“This is something that NASA is taking seriously and looking to incorporate into their strategy,” he added.
A large man who rarely left ship other than to indulge in his beloved pastime of ptarmigan hunting, Lindstrom was nevertheless a stalwart of Amundsen’s many expeditions, credited with helping his crewmates through their “polar nerves” with his tireless humour.
The Norwegian team arrived at the geographical south pole on 14th December 1911 and, unlike the pursuing British team, who arrived on 17th January 1912, made it safely back to their ship.
Professor Johnson helped pioneer the science of group dynamics from observing teams operating in the South Pole over more than four years, as well as researching the pioneering arctic expeditions.
He is now contributing to a NASA project to incorporate his “class clown” insights into selection of a manned mission to reach the red planet at some point in the next 25 years.
Astronauts on such a mission are likely to be away from Earth for at least three years.
“These roles are informal, they emerge within the group, but the interesting thing is that if you have the right combination the group does very well” he said.