The mood was serious and very determined in the Mars500 facility at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow this afternoon, as the crew talked to the press and then walked into the modules that will be their home for the next 520 days.
Diego Urbina and Romain Charles from Europe, Sukhrob Kamolov, Alexey Sitev, Alexandr Smoleevskiy and Mikhail Sinelnikov from Russia and Wang Yue from China face a mission that is as close as possible to a real space voyage without leaving the ground. They will live and work like astronauts, eat special food and exercise in the same way as crews aboard the International Space Station.
Their mission is to ‘fly to Mars’ in 250 days, ‘land on and explore Mars‘ for a month and ‘return to Earth’ in 230 days, using their imitation interplanetary spacecraft, lander and martian surface.
The hatch will remain closed until November 2011 and the crew must manage using the food and equipment stored in the facility. Only electricity, water and some air will be fed into the compartments from outside.
The Russian scientific institute has launched an interactive website on the experiment in cooperation with Google.
“A real mission to Mars before 2035 is hardly possible. Present technology does not allow us to build a Martian spacecraft small enough: if you built it now, it would be the size of the International Space Station,” Krasnov said.
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