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520-day Mars mission simulation
Date:6/3/2010

Ever wondered what it would be like to go on a mission to Mars?

On June 3, a six-man international crew will enter an isolation chamber in Moscow for a simulated 520-day Mars mission conducted by the State Scientific Center of the Russian Federation Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The crew has a mission schedule full of more than 90 experiments and realistic scenarios, including emergency situations, 20-minute communications delays and a trip to the martian surface.

The specialized IBMP facility consists of interconnected modules serving as the mock interplanetary spaceship, including medical and scientific research areas, living quarters, a kitchen, greenhouse and exercise area. The chamber also contains a Mars landing vehicle module and a martian landscape module for simulated extravehicular activities.

Supported by National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), the U.S. scientific team participating in the study is monitoring the six crew members' rest-activity cycles, performance and psychological responses to determine the extent to which sleep loss, fatigue, stress, mood changes and conflicts occur during the mission.

"Extensive data from the Russian Mir Space Station, International Space Station and Apollo missions suggest that psychological and behavioral issues will be perhaps the greatest challenge humans will face when they embark on years-long missions to Mars and other locations," said David F. Dinges, Ph.D., leader of NSBRI-funded group and a professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

The 520-day Mars Mission, conducted by IMBP under the auspices of the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), the Russian Academy of Sciences, and in cooperation with the European Space Agency, is the final phase of the Russian Mars 500 program. Previous phases included a 14-day test of the facility and a 105-day isolation st
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Contact: Kathy Major
major@bcm.edu
713-306-3532
National Space Biomedical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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