Mars500 experiment in the Russian capital 2011

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Mars500 experiment in the Russian capital 2011

Post by falkor » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:07 pm

Tuesday Feb 15, 2011 nzHerald
After more than 250 days in isolation, three participants of a simulated mission to Mars stepped out to a mock-up of the red planet in Moscow this morning and planted flags in the sand.
The Mars500 experiment, at the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems in the Russian capital, is being carried out with the European Space Agency and China's space training centre.

It was on a hot day last June when the six-man international crew entered the simulated spacecraft at the research centre. Ever since, they have been crammed inside under conditions that replicate the monotony and claustrophobia of a journey to Mars in every way except the weightlessness.

The crew has small living compartments and separate modules for exercise and experiments. They can only communicate with the outside world through email, which was subjected to increasing delays as the crew supposedly got further away from Earth. They have eaten canned and dried food, as is provided on real missions.

After the simulated landing on Saturday, three of the crewmembers donned spacesuits weighing 30kg and emerged yesterday to the "surface" of Mars, which is a sand-filled room that has been next to them throughout their entire journey. The astronauts planted flags of Russia, China and the European Space Agency in the sand, collected samples from the surface and conducted fake scientific experiments.

"We have made great progress today," Vitaly Davydov, the deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, told journalists at Korolyov, Russia's Mission Control Centre for real space journeys, as the images of the "landing" were beamed through. "The crew feel fine," he said.

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