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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs