Monday, 07 Jun, 2010 Science

Volunteers Locked for 520 Days In Experiment to Simulate Mission to Mars


Last week a team of six members was chosen for an unprecedented experiment that aims at simulating a mission to the red planet.

Locked from the outside world for 520 days, the team, which consists of 1 man from China, 1 from Italy, 1 from France and 3 from Russia, is going to spend 520 days in a structure measuring 550 cubic meters and located at a Moscow research institute.

The goal of the experiment, entitled Mars 500, is to test the reactions of bodies and minds during an expended isolation. All through the next one-and-a-half years the six men, aged between 27 and 38, will have to live on limited food rations similar to the ones real astronauts have.

Among the main meals the volunteers will be able to choose between soup, pasta and fish or meat dishes and for breakfast the menu includes cereals, bread or pancakes.

The only way to communicate with the rest of the world is email.

It is worth mentioning that the hatch will open in 2 cases: when the mission is over or when one of the crew members is forced to pull out. Researchers decided to make a team composed of only of males because in such a way crew members will be able to focus on their professional tasks easier.

Inside the structure there are no video cameras. The life of the crew members in the module at the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) will be parted into 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of leisure, reports Physorg.

The 520-day trip includes 250 days for the journey to Mars, 30 days on the surface of the red planet and 240 days for the return trip.

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