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Historic Mars500 mission 'launch' on June 3

Building housing the Mars500 isolation facility in Moscow. An Esa photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): The first full-duration simulation of a human mission to Mars will begin on June 3, when the isolation facility is sealed and the international crews start their record-breaking experiment.

After closing the hatch, the crew of six will remain in their 'spacecraft' for 520 days, Esa said.

The mission, dubbed ‘Mars 500’ was designed to simulate the journey from Earth to the Red Planet, and illustrate the possible physical and mental toll that it will take on the participants.

The crew will basically live and work like astronauts on the International Space Station, with maintenance work, scientific experiments and daily exercise. They will follow a seven-day week, with two days off, except when special and emergency situations are simulated.

During the isolation period the candidates will be simulating all elements of the Mars mission, travelling to Mars, orbiting the planet, landing and return to Earth.

The six crewmembers are Diego Urbina (Italian/Colombian, age 27) and Romain Charles (French, 31); Sukhrob Kamolov (32), Alexey Sitev (38), Alexandr Smoleevskiy (33) and Mikhail Sinelnikov (37) from Russia; and Wang Yue (26) from China and a Russian backup.

Housed in Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow, the 550 m³ sealed space mockup includes an interplanetary spaceship, a Mars lander and a martian landscape.

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