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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid