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Mars 500 Mission

June 22, 2010

A crew of six volunteers has embarked on a simulated, 520-day Mars mission.


A dry run for a Mars voyage. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Earlier this month, six volunteers were locked in a model spacecraft in Moscow – and they don’t plan to come out until November 2011. They’re on a simulated round trip to Mars. For over five hundred days, they’ll operate the simulator and live as they would in outer space. An international team of scientists, including biologist Peter Graef of the German Space Agency, will keep tabs on them.

PETER GRAEF (German Space Agency):
Certainly we have the central question: how can they keep up with their performance – their psychological as well as their physiological performance.

From outside the capsule, the researchers will study changes in the crew’s physical fitness, disease susceptibility, mental health, and social interactions. Graef notes that some of the experiments, like tinkering with the crew’s diet, may also yield insights that non-astronauts can use. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.