Mars500 Crew Enters Final Stretch of Mission

MARS500 PR — 1 September 2011 —  The ‘mission’ to Mars is now generating unique data – nobody has been isolated as long as these six marsonauts. Soon, the communications delay will end and the crew will feel that much closer to opening the hatch on 4 November.

The first full simulation of a mission to Mars and back is proceeding smoothly in the special facility at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow.

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Cool Video: The Mars500 Crew’s Blue Light Experiment

The Mars500 crew is only two months from their ‘arrival’ back on Earth and they can’t wait to see the sunlight. To prepare for that and to understand more about how the human brain reacts to variations of day and night and adjusts the sleep-wake cycle, the marsonauts are wearing red glasses andilluminating their modules with blue light. Diego explains about the photopigments in our eyes and and shows how the experiment is done. After all, life inside the Mars500 ‘spacecraft’ is all about the science!

Video: Mars500 Crew Makes Other Worldly Pizza

Our brave marsonauts may face the most monotonous phase of their mission, but they’re not bored because they are not boring! Have a look at their inventive cookery to celebrate their one full year in the isolation!

In early June the Mars500 crew celebrated their one full year inside the modules simulating an interplanetary spaceship. They are now flying virtually back to Earth and due to a delay in communications, introduced to make the simulation more real, some material reaches the outside world slowly. As they get nearer to Earth the communications delayed is reduced.

By September the ship will only be be only two months away from the Earth.

Mars500 Diary: Walking on Mars

Diego Urbina and Alexandr Smoleevskiy on one-hour 12-minute Marswalk on Monday, 14 February 2011 at the simulated martian terrain of the Mars500 experiment facility in Moscow. Credits: ESA / IPMB

Mars 500 Diary: Unpacking the Lander and preparing for a hike on Mars
by Romain Charles
9 February 2011

In the latest diary Romain writes about opening the hatches to the cargo-filled Lander, emptying it and preparing for the big event: ‘landing’ on Mars and going out for a walk!

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Mars500 Update: “Astronauts” Walk on “Mars”

ESA PROGRAM UPDATE

Three crewmembers of the virtual flight to Mars have ‘landed’ on their destination planet and two of them today took their first steps on the simulated martian terrain. The highlight of the Mars500 mission lasted for one hour and 12 minutes, starting at 13:00 Moscow time.

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Mars500 Crew Enters Orbit Around Red Planet

Mars500 crewmembers testing the Russian Orlan suits before their mission started in early June 2010. Credits: IBMP/ Oleg Voloshin

Mars500 ‘arrives’ in orbit around Mars
ESA Press Release
2 February 2011

The first full-duration simulation of a manned voyage to Mars has reached a major milestone: the ‘spacecraft’ yesterday ‘arrived’ at Mars after 244 days of virtual interplanetary flight. Three crewmembers will ‘land’ on Mars on 12 February and make three sorties onto simulated martian terrain.

Mars500, a pioneering international study of the complex psychological and technical issues that must be tackled for long spaceflights, has been running for more than eight months in hermetically sealed modules imitating a Mars spacecraft at the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow.

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Mars500 Diary: Approaching the Red Planet

Whole Mars500 crew in portrait, September 2010: (clockwise from top left) Sukhrob Kamolov, Romain Charles, Diego Urbina, Yue Wang, Alexandr Smoleevskiy and Alexey Sitev. Credit: ESA

In this 11th Mars500 Mission Diary, Diego Urbina writes about the preparations for the ‘arrival’ at Mars on 1 February and about his feelings now that the action is hotting up.

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Mars500 Update: Darkness on the Edge of Mars

Of emergencies and Christmas trees – an exciting end to 2010
12 January 2011

In the 10th Mars500 Mission Diary, Romain writes about end-of-year excitements in the crew’s spacecraft mockup on their virtual journey to Mars. With almost half the mission completed, the crew is now counting the days to their ‘arrival’ in orbit around the red planet, on 1 February.


During the last few weeks we experienced two major events inside our Mars500 modules. First, an off-nominal situation left us for 20 hours without water, electricity and ventilation during the first two days of December. The second event is merrier: Christmas! Let me share with you how we went through these both.

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Video: Mars500 Diary No. 9

In this latest video from Mars500, Diego and Romain show some scientific experiments the crew is working with. The daily routine in the isolation includes not only joking and counting the days passing, but also plenty of serious work with science and maintenance of the facility. Despite the monotonous life, the spirit is still high – as this video shows!

Mars500 Crew Celebrates Halloween

No, the Mars500 crew hasn't gone crazy -- yet. They were just celebrating Halloween. Or so they say! (Credit: ESA)

Mars500 Diary
“Are we alone?”
10 November 2010
Courtesy of ESA

In his latest diary update, Diego explains the daily routine with a European experiment they are conducting inside the Mars500 modules, and also shows his Halloween photos, prompting the question: “Are we alone?”


As the days get longer and more monotonous in the Mars500 modules, we get more time to think about the conditions that surround us. One of the questions that crosses our minds from time to time is: “are we alone?” I am not talking about tortured souls that haunt the storage module on Halloween, or about life beyond Earth (the latter being a fascinating topic by itself), but about other actual living beings that might share this space with us, without us noticing.
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Mars500 Crew Members Answer More Questions From Public

Whole Mars500 crew in portrait, September 2010: (clockwise from top left) Sukhrob Kamolov, Romain Charles, Diego Urbina, Yue Wang, Alexandr Smoleevskiy and Alexey Sitev. Credit: ESA

ESA PROGRAM UPDATE

The Mars500 crew is answering your questions by email and the second batch of the answers is here.

Questions are welcome from the members of the media and also from anyone else who his interested. As on a real trip to Mars this is not in real-time, questions will be relayed to them through ‘mission control’.

Please think carefully about your question and keep it short – the best questions will be selected and sent to the crew to answer! They will answer as many as they can but also have a busy work schedule.

The address is: mars500crew@esa.int.

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Mars500 Crew Answer Questions from Public

Whole Mars500 crew in portrait, September 2010: (clockwise from top left) Sukhrob Kamolov, Romain Charles, Diego Urbina, Yue Wang, Alexandr Smoleevskiy and Alexey Sitev. Credit: ESA

ESA PROGRAM UPDATE

The Mars500 crew is answering your questions by email and the first answers are now here (below). Questions are welcome from the members of the media and also from anyone else who his interested. As on a real trip to Mars this is not in real-time, questions will be relayed to them through ‘mission control’.
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