Mars-500 mission draws to a close – From RT Free Video
Mars-500 mission draws to a close- From RT Free Video
The six volunteers in a simulated mission to Mars are preparing to leave their capsule after 17 months of isolation.
Through the Mars-500 project, scientists have been working to find out how humans will be able to cope with long-distance spaceflight.
Five hundred and twenty days away from Earth. Alone in the cold depths of space, on a mission to the red planet and back.
Well, not quite.
These men have been sealed in a mock spacecraft for 17 months.
But they never left Moscow, and could have quit the Mars 500 isolation experiment at any time.
This piece of string was set into this wax on June the 3rd 2010. Despite many predictions to the contrary that seal has remained unbroken throughout the experiment, and only now after all this time are the men inside being re-united with the outside world.
“I was afraid of conflicts that could lead to an early termination of the experiment. We tried to consider all potential risks and to nip all tensions in the bud”, says Yuri Bubeyev, psychologist and physiologist.
The scientists behind it wanted to see if the six-man crew would be able to go all that time without severe psychological effects.
From the busy control room, RT correspondent’s was able to ask one of them.
“In the beginning I was hoping that, not hoping, I was maybe waiting for something bad to happen you know like a fight or something. Being in such close quarters for such a long time it would be you know the most normal thing in the world but it never happened. We have been a very cohesive team from the beginning”, answered Diego Urbina, Mars-500 participant.
The experiment was kept as real as possible with a twenty minute time delay in communications once the mock ship was on its way.
That meant the team was alone. They could talk freely with loved ones, but researchers decided to withhold bad news from the outside world. But that was a tricky.
We had to keep in mind that some information could come in with private correspondence. Some relatives could break the news. In this case any prolonged silence on our part could lead to tensions and misunderstanding, they could think that we withheld the information deliberately”, explains Yuri Bubeyev, psychologist and physiologist.
The highlight of the crew’s trip was a simulated landing on Mars.
With the long isolation and boredom before it, scientists observed with amazement just how real it became for them when they made Martian landfall.
“Their pulse rate was 160 beats per minute. Now compare it with the pulse of the first cosmonaut Yury Gagarin – while in orbit it was 152 beats per minute”, says Alexander Suvorov, Chief Operating Officer of MARS-500 Project.
The outside world too has been intrigued by Mars-500, mostly through betting on how and when the experiment would fail.
One bookmaker put eight to one odds on one of the crew members going insane because of it.
We were having a laugh not too long ago about it. We’re happy that somebody won probably a lot of money thanks to betting that nobody went crazy or nobody went out”, says Diego Urbina.
So even though it’s only a dry run, it’s still a significant achievement for earth’s first Martian pioneers.
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