Starting next month, a crew of six that involves two Europeans, three Russians and one Chinese will participate in the first full-duration simulated mission to Mars.
The Mars 500 experiment mimics a mission to Mars in a mockup that includes an interplanetary spaceship, a Mars lander and a martian landscape.
Mars500 is being conducted by Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems, with extensive participation by the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of its European Program for Life and Physical Sciences to prepare for future human missions to the Moon and Mars.
In a hermetically isolated facility, the crew will live in confined space with limited consumables and communication only via the Internet, occasionally disrupted and with a 20-minute delay. That communications delay mimics a real Mars mission due to the distance between a Mars-bound spacecraft and Earth.
To mimic a real future mission to the Red planet as accurately as possible, Mars 500 will develop in 3 stages: 250 days for the trip to Mars, 30 days to explore the surface and 240 days for the return journey.
The six-person crew will live as if they were in an interplanetary spaceship en route to the red planet, but they’ll be sitting in Moscow.
Photo: ESA – S. Corvaja
For a video that tells the story of next month’s Mars 500 experiment, go to:
By Leonard David