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US institute wraps up data collection in Russian Mars 520-day mission simulation
Date:11/8/2011

these space mission simulations are closer to the real thing than other analogs."

The 520-day Mars Mission, conducted by IBMP 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 study involving a six-member international crew in 2009.

Preliminary reports from the 520-day simulation indicate the researchers collected approximately 4.5 million minutes of data from the crew members who wore actiwatches that recorded their movements. The actiwatch data will give an objective measurement of sleep-wake patterns. Other data will allow scientists to determine moods, depression, fatigue, stress and the effects of conflicts.

According to Dinges, logistics and the collection of high-quality data were the most challenging part of the investigation. Those responsibilities belonged to NSBRI's International Liaison Dr. Igor Savelev, who communicated with the crew during the simulation.

"Much like a real mission, the crew is trained before launch, and any in-flight problems with a research project must be handled by the crew with the assistance of ground personnel," Savelev said. "The NSBRI project was complicated, but due to the preparations by the researchers and the in-flight efforts of the crew, we were able to collect more than 98 percent of the target data."

One of the unique aspects of the 520-day mission simulation was the international cooperation. "In addition to providing valuable scientific data about the neurobehavioral and psychosocial issues facing humans during an extended exploration mission, this simulation gives the participating countries more experience with international collaboration," said Dr. Jeffrey Sutton, NSBRI director. "Our counterparts at IBMP are to be commended for their efforts in spo
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Contact: Brad Thomas
rbthomas@bcm.edu
713-798-7595
National Space Biomedical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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