November 09, 2011
Volunteers end simulated mission to Mars
ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2011) — The record-breaking simulated mission to Mars has ended with smiling faces after 17 months. Mars500's six brave volunteers stepped out of their 'spacecraft' Nov. 4, 2011 to be welcomed by the waiting scientists -- happy that the venture had worked even better than expected.
Mars500, the first full-length, high-fidelity simulation of a human mission to our neighbouring planet, started 520 days ago, on 3 June 2010, at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow.
The international crew were isolated in their interplanetary spacecraft mock-up, faithfully following the phases of a real mission: a long flight to Mars, insertion into orbit around the planet, landing, surface exploration, return to orbit, a monotonous return flight and arrival at Earth.
During the 'flight', the crew performed more than 100 experiments, all linked to the problems of long-duration missions in deep space.
To add to their isolation, communications with mission control were artificially delayed to mimic the natural delays over the great distances on a real Mars flight.
The crew of three Russians, one Chinese and two Europeans have performed exceptionally well. They have kept together and showed that motivation and team spirit can keep humans going under very difficult conditions. Scientists are pleased at their exceptional discipline.
"Thank you very much for your outstanding effort," said the European Space Agency's Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain in his greeting from Paris after the crew stepped from their module.
Posted by kimnath at November 9, 2011 01:35 PM
Those are some very dedicated astronauts. I cannot possibly imagine spending 520 in a simulated space mission. I wonder how close we are to actually sending humans to Earth...
Posted by: chazr at November 9, 2011 02:25 PM
Wow that is very impressive. It must have been tough for them to keep their composure and get the job done for the advancement of science.
Posted by: curryka at November 9, 2011 10:46 PM
i find it incredible that they are able to do over 100 experiments while they were mid-flight and i wonder what were the main discoveries that these five accomplished. I wonder if the United States has any similar mission to send astronauts to orbit and do experiments involving the planet of Mars
Posted by: zachrk at November 10, 2011 12:23 AM
If everything went as well as the article says it did then I am very surprised at the results. Being confined for that long, in my opinion, is bound to drive a person mentally insane. But great for that group of people being able to work it out, this is a big step forward in going to the red planet.
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