Someone call Pauly Shore, because there’s a new closed environment that’ll need his madcap hijinks to stave off boredom and no doubt save the day. The Mars500 project, located in Moscow, hopes to simulate the experience of a manned mission to Mars. It’s the mission to part that they’re testing, and not the actual Mars part. It takes a long time to get to Mars, and once you start there’s no pitstops. So a lucky group of international astronauts will be working together to see what’s its like to live in 550 cubic meters for the better part of a year.
I don’t envy the folks going into the modules: I’m pretty sure I’d go stir crazy within a couple days. But the experiment itself has real-world value, so I applaud everyone’s dedication. I’m particularly impressed that communications with “Earth” (ie: the outside world) will be gradually delayed, to simulate the transmission delay as the craft gets farther and farther from our fair planet.
The Mars500 is so called because it simulates the duration of a possible human Mars mission in the future using conventional propulsion: 250 days for the trip to the Red Planet, 30 days on the martian surface and 240 days for the return journey, totalling 520 days (in reality it would probably take a lot longer than this).
Via BBC News.