The Golden Rule
The motto of the mission, Nothing goes in or out, represents all that Spacesim is about: mission integrity, realism of simulation, and suspension of disbelief. Simply put, the astronauts must believe they are on another planet or moon in the solar system, and receive no external inputs from the real world. Most importantly, nothing may enter or exit the simulation room throughout the mission for any reason barring a real-life emergency. To a lesser extent, this represents the need that the astronauts forget their real lives for a few days, unplug from the Internet and society, and receive all their information exclusively through Mission Control.
Historical Breaks from The Golden Rule
In the past the Golden Rule has been broken, reminding Spacesim why it was put in place. During several missions, class notes were passed through the Powerbox in order to allow astronauts to remain up to date on their class work. Unfortunately, this break from Mission Integrity diminished the effects of the simulation by providing a link between Earth and the Habitat despite the Habitat being several thousand kilometers away.
An even worse break from the Golden Rule was the transference of an X-Box through the Power Box into the Habitat. This essentially ruined the mission by the same method described above, and by sapping attention away from the mission and towards video-games.
During the 2004-05 mission to Mars, astronauts Jonathan Scothorn and Stefan De Young went on an extended 6+ hour EVA in order to attend Senior Music Night at Lisgar Collegiate Institute. Both violinists, they were members of the Lisgar Senior Orchestra and String Ensemble. This breaking of the golden rule is sometimes excused by the fact that both Scothorn and De Young were only added to the roster of astronauts one week prior to the mission, and had no time to negotiate with Mrs. Bradley or Mr. Arrigo.
The Golden Rule was broken in the past to provide supplies to the Habitat, that the Astronauts seemed to feel they could not do without. However, as was shown during the 2006-07 mission to Borrelly, supplies can obtained without the breaking of Mission Integrity. In essence, the plan was to incorporate the breaking of the Rule into the Mission itself, and to delay the instant gratification factor that the Power Box provided. To that end, the Astronauts sent a list of necessary supplies to Mission Control, which they promised to obtain and send by super-fast rocket towards Borrelly. At the end of the day, a small rubbermaid container was placed on the surface, while the Habitat shook from the "impact." An EVA was conducted to retrieve the payload thus obtaining the necessary supplies while preserving mission integrity. Other solutions, such as the transference of a sixth helmet to the habitat by Earth Station 1 during Dragan 2011, can be excused early in the mission by hiding the helmet in a part of the habitat that the crew has probably not yet ventured to. In that mission, which launched with only 5 helmets due to a mix-up immediately after pre-flight wherein someone removed a helmet from the airlock, the helmet was placed under a pile of EVA suits by a simulator sometime after takeoff and the astronauts were told to make sure that they only had 5 helmets by rooting around in the airlock. Because the habitat and mission control had a plausible explanation as to why the astronauts did not notice the helmet before, the Golden Rule was maintained and the problem was solved. The golden rule was also nearly broken on this mission when the astronauts needed to vent their waste water but had only one waste water container available. This was a problem since, to realistically simulate venting of waste, the bottle and the water would have to be removed. Averting the disaster Acting Flight Director Euan Wheaton advised the astronauts to make use of on of the Water Bottle Preservation Units (more commonly referred to as stools) sitting in the kitchen.