Thursday, June 2, 2011

365 Days For Mars 500


The Mars500 mission, callsign "Kepler", has reached day #365! Congratulations to Russian crew members Sukhrob Kamolov, Alexandr Smoleevskiy and Alexey Sitev; to Chinese crew member Wang Yue; and also to ESA crew members, Romain Charles from France, and Diego Urbina from Italy & Colombia.

One trip around the sun without a hot shower, just steam and towels. One year with no nature, no grass or trees, no sky.

Europe, China, Russia in the Mars500
One year without women. And 155 days to go!

Would you do that for 100,000 Euro? Where, each day, scientists are watching you for signs of how you handle a rigorous work schedule, medical experiments, emergency simulations and just plain... MONOTONY?

Here's an interesting look at how the chaps are handling life after 365 days in the "spaceship" isolation facility in Russia. Most pointedly, I thought it was interesting where Diego says he misses his family, he misses going out dancing, and that he misses the "randomness of the world."

Indeed, spontaneity would be in short supply in their world. Routines would be everything on a mission of this length, because the crew could not afford any system failure out in the black.

They are now getting toward the end of their mission schedule in terms of milestone events, having already landed on Mars and turned the boat around to head back toward Earth.

What remains now are the big questions about which scientific experiments are feasible, teamwork, stamina, continued physical and psychological health... and long-term interpersonal compatibility in a closed environment.

Mars500 Crew
In an interesting turn event for us social media junkies, Steve Légère of the Mars500 Blog has continued to publish Letters From Romain, where the French crewman answers questions put to him by us spaceflight simulation groupies who keep up with their every move.

After I and my fellow AFSC crew members wrote to the Mars500 last month, Romain was kind enough to answer us and also pose some questions in return.

Utah? eek. Hate to break this to you, but I think the closest I will get to a Mars sim now is ... writing about other people who go to extreme environments to do so!