Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Simulation Begins!

Today is the big day for the Mars500 crew! This is very exciting -- possibly the most interesting human "simulation" experience ever attempted. Earlier this month, I posted the spacecraft floorplan of the Mars500, upon hearing that the ESA and Roskosmos had chosen their final volunteers.

Today, they embark upon their 105-day isolation study, the first attempt at a comprehensive Mars Mission simulation. If all goes well, they will undergo a 520-day "trip" later this year.

The web site of the European Space Agency now has a special ESA Mars500 section, complete with crew biographies, more in-depth looks at the modules, photograph galleries, and descriptions of their scientific protocols -- from group social dynamics to "Neuro-Immuno-Endocrine and metabolic effects" and right on down to plain-old loneliness.

Mars500 on Euronews

Two of the participants will be keeping a daily diary... no blog feed as of yet, but perhaps they'll expand into that eventually if enough people are interested. I for one will be following along, in the hopes they have good results... and also hoping that someday we mirror this effort in the American space program as well --perhaps in cooperation with JAXA? Time will tell.