About fifty people volunteered to take part in the terrestrial experiment simulating manned flight to Mars, which is going to be held in Russia. Who knows, may be the dream of the whole mankind – to take a walk on Earth’s neighbour – will sometimes come true. At least, we will be another step closer for it.
The terrestrial experiment lasting for 520 days (with possible extension to seven hundred days) starts in the fourth quarter of 2007 in the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems (Russian Academy of Sciences). The experiment is aimed at solving various problems of medical and biological supply of the crew, which is the essential factor for the manned mission to Mars to be successful. Said experiment will help to obtain various data, necessary for clarifying initial requirements for the whole concept of the manned flight, for defining major components of the Martian expeditionary complex and for proper functioning of the crew life support systems. The experiment has three main stages: the first one imitates “the flight” along the Earth-Mars direction and is as long as 250 days. The second stage gives a chance for three crew members to “stay” of the Mars’s surface for up to 30 days, and as for the last, but not the least, stage – it is a simulation of the return flight along the Mars-Earth direction lasting for 240 days.
Russian medics and biologists, who have planned the experiment, consider the crew, which will include six persons aged between 25-50 years, to be international. The crew will mainly consist of doctors, engineers, biologists and, of course, computer technicians. Volunteers from many countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, United States, Great Britain, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, Spain and Estonia, have already expressed their will to participate in described project. Three women and one married couple are among those wishing to pierce the space. Every crew member will sign the contract, which will explain in detail all conditions and requirements for taking part in the “Mars-500” scientific venture, including financial aspects.
The experiment will be carried out in the terrestrial experimental complex of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems, which consists of five hermetic modules, connected to each other. Modules have total volume of 550 cubic meters. One of them is designed for imitating human activities of the surface of the red planet. Modules include separate cabins for each crew member, the community room, working places for carrying out necessary medical and biological experiments, the room for storing consumable stocks and systems for audio- and telecommunication.
The crew is expected to spend the time of the experiment under the conditions of artificial atmosphere with normal barometric pressure. Some life supporting systems will be located outside the modules; however, crew members will be able to control them directly or to imitate controlling said devices.