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Crewmembers on a virtual flight to Mars have reached the half-way point of their mission, with a simulated landing on the Red Planet.
The men are part of the Mars500 study into the effects of interplanetary spaceflight on humans. They are spending 520 days in isolation in Moscow, locked inside an elaborate facility designed to resemble a spacecraft.
The mission, which began 3 June, 2010, is intended to last roughly the length of time it would take astronauts to fly to Mars and back.
The team consists of six volunteers — three from Russia, and one each from China, France and Italy.
On 8 February, three members of the team entered the study's lander module. They 'touched down' on Mars four days later, and conducted their first extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on the artificial Martian surface on Valentine's Day, dressed in working spacesuits (above).
Photo credit: ESA