Fourth November 2011 six people "back to Earth." 520 days spent test team in a tightly closed complex, which played the role of the ship. And this record "flight" was similar to a real mission, not only in time.
The most detailed as possible on Earth, simulation flight to Mars — experiment "Mars-500" — held in Moscow Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in cooperation with a number of foreign partners, including the European Space Agency (ESA).
Flags of Russia, China and the ESA on a virtual Mars. Do not be fooled by a simple view of the scenery — we are the most rigorous modeling of people visit the Red Planet (photo IBMP / Oleg Voloshin).
A detailed analysis of the results and summarizing the results of all is yet to come, but we can already say the main thing — from a psychological and medical perspective to Mars is possible!
This was proved by the crew of a virtual expedition. It included three Russians, as well as representatives of France, Italy and China commander Alexei Sitev, Sukhrob Kamolov doctor, researcher Alexander Smoleevsky, flight engineer Romain Charles (Romain Charles), researchers Diego Urbina (Diego Urbina) and Wang Yue (Wang Yue).
From top to bottom and from left to right: Sitev, Smoleevsky, Urbina, Charles Wang and Kamolov (Photos IBMP).
"It went even better than expected. They showed that motivation and team spirit can keep people gathered in very difficult conditions, "- says the ESA on the participants unparalleled epic.
In complex ground conditions have been reproduced many manned mission to the Red Planet: prolonged isolation in a closed and relatively small space, a significant delay in communication with Earth, limiting consumable resources, autonomy and dependence on its own life support systems.
The scheme of medical technology experimental facility. Different parts of the Martian spacecraft and lander reproduce cylindrical set of 250, 150, 100 and 50 cubic meters. Hangar "Martian surface simulator" consists in the amount of 1200 m3 (Figure IBMP / Haider Hobihozhin).
Experiments to test the insulation in a confined space with limited resources and Sessions’ connection to the Earth "in the Institute of Biomedical Problems are held for more than 40 years. But for the first time this experience lasted like a trip to Mars and back, including the landing of men on the surface for several days.
Exterior view of the complex, a gym and a greenhouse, individual cabins and kitchen (photos IBMP / Oleg Voloshin).
Main goal of "Mars-500" — the study of the psychological and physiological problems that can arise in such a flight. Because the proportion of testers fell not just stay in a confined space, but also the simulation of the actual work astronauts en route to Mars and back, and even directly on the fourth planet.
During the expedition of three crew members for two weeks passed from the spaceship to the lander, which reproduced the operations associated with the landing on Mars, and from which committed three exits to the surface of the planet.
Last simulated in a hangar, a covered walkway connected to the seat unit. And get into this hangar could only wearing spacesuits really isolated from the external environment.
On this piece of Mars astronauts installed the flags, pronounced orations, collected samples of soil and rocks, chipped pieces of big rocks, measurements were performed using a magnetometer … Well, did everything what will be required to deal with the real pioneers of Mars.
And during one of the exits even simulated emergency situation: Diego Urbina allegedly tripped on a rock, fell and broke his arm, and Alexander Smoleevsky helped him to return to the boarding bay.
At each exit from the ship to "the surface of Mars," worked on two cosmonauts (photos IBMP / Oleg Voloshin, Wang Yue).
During the expedition, participants had to spend more than 100 experiments. It was mostly a variety of psychological tests and medical-biological tests that help the scientists to determine the effect of a closed environment on the health, performance, stress tolerance and harmony crew.
And somehow even during the "flight to Earth" because of "unforeseen technical failure" contact with "marsoletom" was completely broken for a week. Members of the expedition own decisions for his work, a program of experiments were patiently waiting for the radio channel "can be restored."
Exactly as in the present expedition length and a half years, the team combined the work of the holidays. It celebrated birthdays, national holidays, New Year’s and even Halloween (Photos IBMP).
Of course, during the flight, the crew not only worked, but also the rest.
Leisure six test brightened books, movies and karaoke. Add to this list a game console, musical instruments, chess …
As part of the "Mars-500" was held a lot of so-called satellite experiments in which scientists have investigated various aspects of the flight to Mars: the effect of the atmosphere on the ship fire hazard prevention techniques effects of weightlessness, the effects of radiation on the body (in the latter case were guinea monkeys). These experiments also brought a lot of information that has yet to be processed.
Now members of the outstanding "flight" are thorough medical examination. Virtual Voyage to Mars completed, but the project continues.