Six astronauts have survived a 520-day experiment designed to simulated a mission to Mars, reports Deutsche Welle.The Mars 500 project, which began in June last year monitored how six researchers would cope with cramped living conditions and just enough supplies. It was the longest isolation experiment in the history of space travel. Costing $15 million it was largely funded by Russia, the European Space Agency and Germany and took place in a pod in Moscow.
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The crew were in contact with doctors throughout, though there was a 20 minutes delay on the radio feed, as there would be if the astronauts were in deepest space. Half way through the experiment, three members of the team got to leave their confines to simulate a space walk.
However, the BBC reports that a real mission to Mars would have some key differences to the simulated experiment. Astronauts would experience more weightlessness, which has a greater effect on their muscles than the Earth’s gravity. They would also be subject to higher, and potentially dangerous, levels of radiation from the sun while it has also been noted that a real mission would take almost twice as long as the experiment.
Lastly, the BBC notes that the reality in this experiment was that the researchers could have abandoned proceedings if there was an emergency. Obviously, you wouldn’t be able to do this if you were half way to Mars.
Inside the spaceship featured wooden floors and walls, and a variety of rugs and cushions for relaxing.
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