Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mars 500 Update!


An exciting update: The Russian and European Space Agencies have set May 2010 as their magic month for the next stage in The Mars500! This amazing project will be the first full-duration simulated mission to Mars.

Last year, a crew of six cosmonauts entered a specially-designed facility meant to act as a self-sustaining spacecraft for 105 days, to study the effects of isolation, finite food and water, artificial atmosphere and communications. A new team is being auditioned for the much-anticipated 18-month version. Can they stay healthy and sane through this process??

"It is literally isolated compared to the ISS, where you have arriving and departing vehicles, crew being exchanged every 2-4 months. You have contact with the ground and always have new experiments. In the Mars simulation, you will depart with a certain set of consumables and equipment -- and the door never opens." – Martin Zell, ESA's ISS Utilisation Department

Interconnected "Space Craft" Modules
No showers, No windows.

Europe, Russia and now China are narrowing down their candidates, and the final six will be hermetically isolated. They will follow a seven-day week with two days off, and tasks performed will be comparable to those of ISS astronauts (maintenance, science, daily exercise) but for a far longer time.

The ESA has also now published many of the complex scientific protocols:

Орлан Модернизированни - Компютеризированниы
("Modernized Computer-aided Sea Eagle")

What will be the effects on hormones, sleep quality, mood, stress and physical shape? Time will tell. Once the 'journey' to Mars is completed, the team will also use modified Martian versions of Russian Orlan-MK space suits to simulate a trip to the 'surface' of the red planet.

"You've got to be a bit crazy to undertake this venture, but it's a healthy craziness. I will miss my family and friends, nature itself, and all the things we take for granted on Earth, such as the internet. And girls -- that's something I'll definitely miss." - Columbian-Italian candidate Diego Urbina (26)

For related press, see this detailed story by BBC Science correspondent Jonathan Amos and also note the Mars500 blog has been updated on the ESA site.


Laksen Sirimanne said...

Diego Urbina was a fellow crew member of crew-88 at the Mars Desert Research Station this January and I had a chance to spend two weeks with him. He is smart, funny, down to Earth (or Maybe Mars), highly motivated and truly an exceptional person. All of us on crew-88 are rooting for him and hope he will make the "prime" crew.

PillowNaut said...

oh is that the one where you were XO?? Excellent, how wonderful that he's got a chance to do the big tamale, I hope he makes it too! I've been following them for over a year now, and I'll keep tabs for as long as the project is running... and I look forward to the day when "Down to Mars" is a slang term LOL!

rtfgvb7806 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

The Wolf said...

I've never heard of this experiement before, I can't wait to find out how it works out for them. Personally I wold love to do something like this even if it was just a simulation it would still be a thrill to do it.