MOSCOW, November 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Six volunteers – three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian and a Chinese, ended their 520-day isolation in the Mars 500 experiment imitating a manned flight to Mars on Friday.
The module was built on the premises of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The environment was very close to the prospective interplanetary manned spaceship (excluding zero gravity and radiation), and the crew’s only contact with the control station was by the radio. The radio signal came with a delay as the ‘spaceship’ traveled farther from the Earth.
There were three stages in the ‘flight’ – the 240-day journey to Mars, the 30-day landing on the Martian surface and the 240-day return.
The crew fulfilled over 100 experiments, including those clinical, diagnostic, physiological, sanitary-hygiene and microbiological.
Mars 500, which involved the European Space Agency (ESA) and some other partners, aimed to gain certain experience ahead of a real manned mission to Mars. The research will help evaluate the influence of isolation, closed space and stress on psychological and physiological aspects of the human life, such as interaction in a group, sleep, mood, hormone regulation, immunity and catering efficiency, a source at the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems said.