After spending a year and a half in isolation in steel tubes to simulate a mission to mars, six crew members have emerged back into the real world. The Mars500 project was designed to see how the mind and body would cope with long duration spaceflight, such as that necessary to reach Mars. The study which took place in Moscow involved crew members from China, Russia and Europe. At one point during the study, three crew members even simulated landing on Mars by wearing spacesuits and walking through an isolated sand pit.
The crew consisted of Russians Alexey Sitev, Alexandr Smoleevskiy, Sukhrob Kamolov, Chinese citizen Wang Yue and Europeans Romain Charles and Diego Urbina. Friends and family members of the crew, who were waiting outside the capsule, applauded and cheered as they emerged back into the real world after a year and a half. Diego Urbina who spoke for all the men said it was “overwhelming” to be out of the chamber and see everyone again. The crew were immediately whisked away to quarantine for medical checks. All members of the crew are said to be in excellent health, however psychologists are concerned about the crew members’ reintegration into normal society and life.
For the majority of the study, the crew had very limited contact with the outside world, which would mirror the experience of astronauts travelling to Mars. The capsule they stayed in had no windows and all communication to the outside world was delayed like it would be on a journey to Mars. At its peak, the lag time for communication between the crew and the outside world was 25 minutes. This meant that for much of the mission, communication was made through text, such as email, twitter and blogs.