Six men locked in steel tubes for a year and a half to simulate a mission to Mars are ready to finish their experiment.
The Mars500 project, carried out in a Moscow institute, aimed to discover how the human mind and body would face a long-lived space flight.
It is a company that has fascinated all those who have followed it all over the world. The study even saw three of the men perform a mock landing on Mars, put on real space suits and walk through a closed sand yard. Continue reading the main story. MARS SIMULATION PROJECT.
Aim was to gather knowledge and experience to help prepare for real Mars mission This meant probing the psychological and physiological effects of extended isolation Project simulated outward cruise, landing operations and return journey to Earth About 100 experiments were planned; crew partook in a series of medical studies Resources restricted at departure; crew had to manage food consumption Text communications only were possible with the ground; max 25min delay in round signal time The crew has comprised a trio of Russians (Alexey Sitev, Alexandr Smoleevskiy, and Sukhrob Kamolov), two Europeans (Romain Charles and Diego Urbina), and a Chinese national, Wang Yue.
Everything changes for the men when they “land” back on Earth at 14:00 Moscow time (10:00 GMT). That is when the hatch to their sealed home at the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IMBP) is opened for the first time since 3 June 2010.
It is expected the crew will have a few brief moments to wave to cameras and perhaps make a quick statement before being whisked into quarantine for three days of medical checks. For much of the Mars500 project, the six have had only limited contact with the outside world.
Their “spaceship” has no windows, and the protocols demanded their communications endure a similar time lag to that encountered by real messages as they travel the vast distance between Earth and Mars.
At its maximum, the round travel time for a question to be sent and for an answer to be received was about 25 minutes. This meant having to resort to text media, such as email and Twitter, and video blogs.
Asked recently what he was most looking forward to when he got out, Italian-Colombian Diego Urbina told News via Twitter: “Meeting my family, calling my friends, bumping into strangers, going to the beach.” Continue reading the main story THE LAYOUT OF THE MARS500 ‘SPACESHIP’
MEDICAL MODULE: A 12m long cylinder that acted as a laboratory. It was also the infirmary where a member of the crew got sick.
HABITABLE MODULE: The main accommodation. The 20 m module has beds, a galley, a social area. It also acted as the main control room.
LANDING MODULE: This was only used during the 30-day landing operation. Three members of the crew visited the “surface of Mars”
UTILITY MODULE: It is divided into four compartments, to store food and other supplies, to house a greenhouse, a gymnasium, and a refrigeration unit.
SURFACE MODULE: To walk on the ground and rocks of Mars, the crewmen put on Orlan’s spacesuits and pass through an air hatch.
There were many aspects of a real mission that could not be simulated in a suburb of Moscow, such as weightlessness and the dangers associated with space radiation. But scientists have expressed great satisfaction with the data that has been acquired, and hope to apply the lessons learned to increasingly realistic scenarios.
The crew has been the guinea pig in a series of psychological and physiological tests. During more than 17 months of their virtual journey, the crew participated in several studies to evaluate the effect that their isolation was having on their psychological and physiological wellbeing.
They controlled their stress levels and hormones, as well as their sleep patterns and their moods. The men also conducted an evaluation of the benefits of dietary supplements in such situations. “I can only commend the crew for their courage and their great spirit,” said Dr. Martin Zell of the European Space Agency, who was one of the main sponsors of the project.
“They were a brilliant team, they will really finish as a team and not as six people,” he told News. Interim discussions have begun between the partners in the International Space Station (ISS) on the possibility of conducting some type of isolation experiment in orbit.
Initially, this could imply the introduction of a delay in communications to controllers in Moscow and Houston, USA. UU Ultimately, it could also involve the elimination of crew members in separate modules to give them an idea of what the Mars500 participants have gone through.
Certainly, the partners want the ISS to become more of an “exploration test bank” in the next decade, a platform to test new approaches and new technologies that will help human beings to deepen the Solar System.