Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mars Launch!


Ah, coming up for air! Along with a new job comes all new hours, but hopefully now that things are settling down, I can get back to blogging semi-regularly. What's going on in the world? I hope everyone enjoyed the final voyage of Atlantis... but oddly, I know more news in Russia right now than anywhere in the United States, LOL...

Early tomorrow at 3:00am EST and 11:00 MSD (Moscow Daylight Time), the Mars500 project will launch their long-awaited 520-Day space voyage!

Anyone who has followed Pillownaut since 2007 will know I've done seven posts about the Mars500 at each stage of their 3-part program. And it's finally coming to what everyone hopes will be a learning-intensive long-duration simulation.

The final chosen crew:
Commander: Alexey Sityev from Russia
Physician: Sukhrob Kamolov from Russia
Flight Engineer: Romain Charles from France
Researchers: Diego Urbina from Italy, Wang Yue from China, and Alexander Smoleevskiy from Russia.

Mars 500 Facility
The Hatch

Can 6 guys locked in a tin can for a year and a half survive the trip to Mars? We'll soon know. Here is the project timeline to date...
November 2007: 14-day simulation Facility & Operations Test
March 2009: First Mars500 Crew begins 105-Day Isolation Study
July 2009: Completion of first simulation
October 2009: Call for Cosmonaut simulation candidates
May 2010: New Mars500 Crew announced
June 2010: Second Mars500 Crew begins 520-Day Isolation Study

And still to come...
February 2011: Arrival on Mars to begin "surface operations"
March 2011: Return voyage begins
November 2011: End of the isolation upon "return to Earth"

The Mars 500
Updated diagram of facility - click to embiggen

The entire mission, call sign Kepler, will take place in the Mars500 Isolation Facility. Each of the simulating Marsonauts have been paid 20,000 Euro during training, and will earn (depending on rank) between 80 – 90,000 Euro when they finish their experiment.