Russian simulation orchestrates successful Mars landing (Roundup)
Feb 12, 2011, 13:28 GMT
Moscow - The largest Mars experiment in the history of space travel has reached a milestone, with its participants successfully completing a virtual landing on the red planet from a sealed container in Russia, the Interfax news agency reported Saturday.
Alexander Smoleyevsky of Russia, Diego Urbina of Italy and Wang Yue of China were aboard the pseudo space capsule and will now simulate three outings onto the planet, starting on Monday.
They will reportedly play out an injury scenario. Surprise tasks also cannot be ruled out, the director of the Institute for Biomedical Problems (IMBP), Boris Morukov, told Interfax.
A total of six purported astronauts have been simulating a flight to Mars and back since June, living in total isolation in the container on IMBP grounds and taking part in numerous experiments.
The project's three other participants - Russians Alexei Sityov and Sukhrob Kamolov and Frenchman Romain Charles - will wait aboard the main 'spacecraft' for their colleagues to return in 30 days.
At that time, the three returning 'astronauts' will have to undergo a three-day quarantine in separate quarters before being allowed to rejoin the rest of the crew.
The project participants, who have to regularly submit urine and blood samples, are monitored around the clock through cameras and sensors. Each crew member only has a 3-square-meter private space that is not under surveillance.
The six men have to sort out any problems that crop up on board themselves. They do, however, have the option of leaving the 520-day experiment at any time.
The German Aerospace Center and the European Space Agency have backed the project, which is to run through November, with some 2 million euros (2.7 million dollars).
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