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MOSCOW, May 1 (Itar-Tass) – A flight to Mars may take place in the first half of the 21st century, Russian Academy of Sciences Vice-President, academic chief of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems Anatoly Grigoryev said at an international symposium dedicated to the Mars 500 experiment. The symposium was held at the Russian Academy of Sciences on April 23-25.
Humanity has long been dreaming about other planets, and the dream of interplanetary flights may soon come true, the academician said.
The Institute of Medical and Biological Problems is one of the centers preparing for such flights, he said. The institute has been studying possible effects of a long interplanetary flight on a human organism for years. “We need to collect new knowledge about human activity, behavior and well being during a long autonomous flight within tight spaceship quarters,” the academician said.
The conference focused on prospects for interplanetary flights, related physiological and medical tasks, crew psychology and medical and biological research that might be held during such missions.
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 November 4, 2011.
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.
The Energia Aerospace Corporation developed the Mars 500 flight plan, which included a brief period of ten to eleven days imitating the orbiting phase, and a few more flight phases, such as the spiral trajectory of the departure from the Earth orbit, the straight trajectory of the flight to Mars and another spiral trajectory on the approaches to the planet.
The crew performed over 100 clinical, diagnostic, physiological, sanitary-hygiene and microbiological experiments.