Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mars500 Crew 'Lands' After 520-Day Simulated Mission To Mars

After breaking a world record for isolation as part of their simulated "trip" to Mars and back, the Mars500 crew has stepped out of their mock interplanetary spacecraft for the first time in 520 days. The isolation experiment which began on June 3, 2010 and ended November 4, 2011 is a revolutionary step toward a "real" manned missions to Mars.

The Mars500 experiment, conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, is a psychological and physical study about how long periods of isolation affects humans. Long-term isolation experiments are important because without them we won't know if people will be able to survive longterm space travel...or if they'll go completely insane.

The Mars500 experiment took place for 520 days--the approximate time to include, "a long flight to Mars, insertion into orbit around the planet, landing, surface exploration, return to orbit, a monotonous return flight and arrival at Earth," as the ESA puts it. The crew also performed more than 100 experiments just like what would happen in a real mission to Mars, except these experiments were all related to the "problems of long-duration missions in deep space," according to the ESA.

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