“See you in 520 days!”, “Happy New Year 2011”. These are some of the pleasantries exchanged between the six men and a scientist who sealed the iron door of a mock spacecraft at a Moscow research center on June 3, 2010. These six men will be locked up in a simulated Mars cruise for 520 days. A Mars mission takes 250 for the onward flight, 30days on the Mars surface, and 240 days for the return flight.
Yes, six men from Europe, Russia and China were locked away for the next 520 days in a simulation of a manned mission to Mars. To be exact, one Frenchman, one Italian, one Chinese, and three Russians will spend the next one-and-a-half years in the mock spacecraft. They swill live on food rations like real astronauts. Their only source of contact with the outside world will be via the email but with a delay of about 40 minutes. The hatch will open only when the mission ends or when one member of the team dies in which case the body will be pushed out to the space.
The mission captain Alexie Sitev is newly married. Imagine the agony of his separation from his newly wed wife. All the members of this team are between ages 27 and 38. Their job will be divided into eight hours of work, sleep, and leisure.
LET US ALL WISH THEM GRAND SUCCESS.