Space volunteers 'land' on Mars

Space volunteers 'land' on Mars

Summary: Six volunteers on a simulated journey to Mars have reached their destination, having been in isolation in a facility in Moscow since June 2010

TOPICS: After Hours

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  • Mars500 EVA

    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

  • Mars500 EVA training

    Pictured above is a member of the crew training for the 'Marswalk' prior to the beginning of the Mars500 experiment.

    According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the artificial Mars terrain is about 10m long and 6m wide, and is built to resemble the surface at Gusev crater, which was the landing site of the Spirit Mars Rover in 2004.

    The ESA is backing the Mars500 study alongside the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP), which has been conducting human isolation studies since the 1960s.

    Photo credit: ESA

Topic: After Hours

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