The mock mission to Mars has finally come to an end with the six men, who had been locked away inside steel tubes for 18 months in an attempt to simulate a space mission to the planet, emerging from isolation in an somewhat anti-climactic end to a very important test.
The mission was called the Mars500 project and it was carried out at in Russia in the Moscow Institute. The reason behind the mission was simple, it was a test to check whether the human mind could cope with a long-duration flight through space. The interest behind the project had been growing, with many from around the world interested in the project.
The mission was not restricted to a simple test of whether a spaceflight was possible, three of the men also carried out a test landing on the planet, albeit it on Earth. They wore the full standard issue spacesuits and took a walk across an enclosed sandy yard.
The six men who were involved were an international collection, with men from Russia, China, and Europe involved in the lockdown. Post mission the men have had to go into another form of isolation, only this time to be checked for any medical conditions that may have come about during their 520-day mission. The results from the medical checks were good, with all men in healthy conditions ready for whatever is thrown at them next.
The Mars500 project was supposed to be a true test, as close as could possibly be. As such the men had very limited contact with the ‘earth’. Their spaceship was not fitted with windows, and there communication systems were even set up so that there was a small time lag between messages as they were sent back and forth. This would be the case if they were travelling in between Earth and Mars.
Taking the worst case scenario, the time it took for a question to be asked and a answer to be received was around half an hour, this meant that the men and the team on earth had to use social media as their mean of communication.
“It’s really great to see you all again – rather overwhelming. On the Mars500 mission, we have achieved on Earth the longest space voyage ever so that humankind can one day greet a new dawn on the surface of a distant, but reachable, planet” said Diego Urbina, a participant from the European Space Agency.