News / Science & Technology

    Moscow Space Volunteers Emerge After 520 Days in Isolation

    Mars500 experiment crew members talk to journalists after leaving the mock spaceship in Moscow, November 4, 2011
    Mars500 experiment crew members talk to journalists after leaving the mock spaceship in Moscow, November 4, 2011

    After a year and a half, six crew members are now free from an isolation module in Moscow. The members were kept away from the world in an attempt to simulate the effects of a return voyage to Mars.

    A Russian official broke the red seal on the space capsule allowing the first weary, pale, crew member to emerge into the real world.

    Wearing a blue jumpsuit and blinking, Commander Alexei Sityov appeared a little wobbly, but smiling as he addressed a press conference, saying that the "international crew has completed the 520-day mission."

    Sityov said, "The program has been fully carried out. All the crew members are in good health."

    Columbian-Italian crew member Diego Urbina, who wants to eventually work in space research, couldn’t stop smiling as he addressed the crowd.

    "It’s been an honor to have been part of this remarkable achievement, five of the most professional, friendly and resilient individuals that I have worked with," said Urbina."I will be forever thankful for all of those who stood close to me during this long odyssey."

    Chinese crewmember Wand Yue seemed more than relieved to be set free, saying only that "after 520 days, we are finally back."

    Mars500 experiment crew members react after leaving the mock spaceship in Moscow November 4, 2011
    Mars500 experiment crew members react after leaving the mock spaceship in Moscow November 4, 2011

    Participants were locked away in the makeshift space capsule with no windows for almost one and a half years; their only contact with the outside world was through e-mail.

    The capsule included medical, sleeping, landing, storage and surface modules with a total interior space of only 550 cubic meters.

    All of the capsules, except for one, were used for living and working. The interior was decorated with wood paneling, furniture and rugs in an attempt to make the experience more like home.

    There was even one module that was meant to appear just like the red planet, complete with rocks, and sand. This is where the volunteers performed space walks.

    Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka says the experiment conditions were as close to real as it gets, especially since the volunteers were from several different countries including Russia, China and Colombia. He says the "main thing was that the module created a good psychological climate."

    Addressing the issue on state television, Padalka added that the last time he went to space "there was a real symbiosis because everyone had their own traditions and customs. But the best thing is to find something useful that unites people."

    Alan Smith, a professor with the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in London, also praised the project, saying the technology is available to send people on the long trek, but there hasn't been enough research on the psychological feasibility of the journey to Mars and back.

    "The most focus so far has been the technology that gets you to Mars and lands you on Mars," said Smith. "And we can’t simulate it in one day. So one of the real problems of going to Mars is getting people to get on with each other for that period of time and still be effective."

    No word yet on how the six volunteers got along. The group was whisked away for medical testing right after they addressed the crowd gathered to watch their return.

    The crew will be in isolation until November 8. Maybe then we’ll find out how things went or didn’t.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.