Rabu, 02 November 2011

Mars 500 "We're Ready To Go"

Six-strong crew will emerge from spacecraft at Russian facility on Friday

Project aimed to simulate effects of journey to Red Planet

Carried out experiments and a 'space walk' in Moscow car park

Scientists will need a year to sift through data before deciding next step

Six astronauts will 'return home' this week after spending 520 days in a windowless capsule on a simulated mission to Mars.
They will emerge from their spacecraft - an isolation facility at the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (RIBP) in Moscow - on Friday.

But they are already looking forward triumphantly to the ever-realistic possibility of sending man to the Red Planet for real.
The last leg: The Mars500 crew, pictured here in September, will finally emerge from their capsule in Russian on Friday after a 520-day mock mission to Mars. One of the astronauts on board, French engineer Romain Charles, said in a recent diary entry: 'Our international crew went through the Mars500 mission successfully and we're happy and proud to answer positively to the question asked a year-and-a-half ago: 'Is man able to endure, physiologically and psychologically, the confinement of a trip to Mars?' Yes, we're ready to go!'

The $15million Mars500 project is being conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the RIBP with the aim of imitating a complete mission to Mars.
Since the astronauts boarded on June 3 last year, they have undergone experiments, carried out 'Mars Walks' in a car park outside a Moscow block of flats and monitored their own mental health and wellbeing.

Collating data: The crew conducted various experiments on themselves to understand the physical and psychological demands of a long space mission. But perhaps importantly, they weren't able to simulate anti-gravity.

To make the simulation realistic, the crew experienced delayed communication with mission controllers at certain points during the trip.                                                                 
Researchers hope to use data to better understand the physical and psychological challenges that astronauts will face on real deep-space journey.
However, they were not able to re-create the effects of gravity or radiation, leaving some potential gaps in their results.

Astronaut Christer Fuglesang, who heads the science and application division at the Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations at ESA, told Space.com: 'The length of Mars500 is unique — there has never been such a long isolation before, so that gives you unique data. 

'From a logistics and communications point of view, it was quite realistic. Of course, there are certain aspects that you cannot simulate. You cannot simulate weightlessness or radiation, for example.'
The project was also useful in determining at what point in long-duration flights humans struggle most - and finding ways to help astronauts cope.

'They have had their ups and downs, but these were to be expected,' Patrik Sundblad, a human life sciences specialist at ESA, said.
'August was the mental low point: it was the most monotonous phase of the mission, their friends and families were on vacation and didn't send so many messages, and there was also little variation in food.

'But we didn't have any kind of hiccup or crisis inside. I did not expect anything major, but it's still been going even better than I could hope for. I'm astonished.'
The crew - made up of Mr Charles, Italian engineer Diego Urbina, Russian physiologist Alexandr Smoleevski, Russian surgeon Sukhrob Kamolov, Russian engineer Alexey Sitev and Chinese astronaut trainer Wang Yue - will remain in medical quarantine for at least three days after they emerge from the hatch.

It is expected to take scientists about a year to analyse the results and decide what step to take next.

by "environment clean generations"

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