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Mars 500 team ready to step on ´Mars surface´


The longest spaceflight simulation in history - a 500-day mission to Mars is reaching its destination, as the astronauts prepare to land on the Red Planet later today.

The crew of three volunteers will leave their spaceship, where they have been locked since June, for a first ‘space walk’ on the Martian surface.

Fake as it may seem, the ongoing experiment is more than virtual, as it helps prepare future astronauts for a real trip to Mars.

After more than 8 months ‘flying’ to the Red Planet the isolated Mars 500 crew are preparing to go where no man has gone before, as they prepare to take their first tentative steps onto a mock - Mars surface

Only 3 of the 6 strong crew are going to be able to enter here and they’ll be collecting samples and carrying out experiments.

The programs emphasis on realism means that the simulated spacewalk is going to be monitored from Russia’s real life mission control centre.

In reality though, the crew, the spaceship and the planet’s surface are all part of a simulated experiment.

Albeit one that comes complete with mock emergencies, scientific experiments, space food, and no natural light.

Its purpose - to learn more about the physical and psychological demands of long distance space travel.

The head of the project tells me it’s a no girl’s team - perhaps to avoid any awkward tensions, as the experience itself is a tough challenge dealing with the monotony.

“Thanks to this program of drills, they are in a good condition and we hope that in spacesuits they’ll be able to emerge outside and to walk on the simulated planet’s surface,” says Alexander Suvorov, Institute of Biomedical Problems.

The crew - all volunteers- are being paid, but it’s a long-haul experiment that still has a while till completion.

It won’t be until November and 640 days after they first began that the men will get to touchdown back in reality.

And whilst the experiment gives a unique insight into long term space travel techniques - it’ll be a long while yet before the real thing.

Until then this simulation is as close as it gets to witnessing a real mission to mars.


55° 45' 20.8296" N, 37° 37' 3.4788" E