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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mars 500 mission is underway

Okay, it’s not actually going anywhere. The Mars 500 mission is a simulation of a voyage to Mars. Back in November, six participants from Russia, Europe and China were chosen to spend a total of 520 days in a test facility at the Moscow Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow. A real journey to Mars is expected to take 250 days out and 240 days back (because of the position of the orbits). Those of you doing the math will notice that the crew will have an extra 30 days between the two trips to pretend to cavort across the surface of Mars.

Although they won’t be simulating weightlessness or radiation exposure, they will have to deal with isolation, boredom, and any emergencies that might arise with their food supplies, equipment or medical conditions. During the 520 days, the volunteers will take a wide assortment of tests on their physical, cognitive and mental health.

Mars500 hatch, which will remain closed for the next year and a half.
Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

French volunteer Romain Charles inside interconnecting tube of the Mars500 facility
Credits: ESA - S.Corvaja

An exterior view of isolation facility at the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow.
Credits: ESA

My claustrophobia clicks in just looking at the pictures.

To see more photos, click here.