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MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. Russia has invited its partners in the International Space Station (ISS) missions to take part in a series of earth-bound experiments on long-term isolation under a program of long-term space flights, Mark Belakovsky, a department head at the Institute of Medico-Biological Problems, a research institution within the Russian Academy of Sciences, told TASS on Friday.
"A campaign has started to send invitations to space agencies of the countries that are cooperating with Russia on the International Space Station project," he said. "Concrete negotiations on organizational issues, research programs and financing aspects will begin after the New Year holidays."
He said national contests to select volunteers would be held in the member countries in early 2016.
According to Belakovsky, after a series of experiments on long-term isolation Mars-500 foreign specialists have been repeatedly contacting Russian partners inviting them to organize a joint international project.
"Whatever the human kind choses as it net goal — Moon, Mars, an asteroid or any of the Lagrangian points — there is one common problem, that is human health. The man is the weakest point, so, the new series of experiments will deal with psychological and physiological problems of long-term space flights," he said.
The text of the invitation available to TASS says the program of experiments under the working name Isolation that is to least till 2020 includes three basic experiments with extending isolation terms: the first one will last for four months, the second one — for eight months, and the final one — one year. The latter experiment will make it possible to compare is results with a 12-month stay at the International Space Station. Additional and technical studies are planned to be conducted in between the three basic experiments.
Each of the three experiments will involve six persons of different sexes and ages. Age limits are set at from 30 to 55.
Equipment of the earth-bound complex built at the institute for the Mars-500 and Moon-2015 isolations experiments in 2010-2011 will be used for the Isolation program.
Since 1967, the Institute of Medico-Biological Problems has conducted several dozens of isolation experiments, including A Year in Spaceship (1967-1968), HUBES (1994), EKOPSY (1995), SFINCSS (2000), Mars-500 (2007-2011). In October-November, a nine-day all-female experiment was held at the institute, when six girls were locked up in a simulated Moon mission.