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Simulated Mars Mission 'Returns' After 520 Days

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-guys-may-want-to-stay-a-bit-longer dept.

Mars 201

On June 3, 2010, a team of six volunteers began the Mars500 experiment: they were locked into a cluster of hermetically sealed habitat modules for the duration of a simulated mission to Mars lasting 520 days. "During the ‘flight,' the crew performed more than 100 experiments, all linked to the problems of long-duration missions in deep space. To add to their isolation, communications with mission control were artificially delayed to mimic the natural delays over the great distances on a real Mars flight." The simulated mission has now come to an end. The crew managed to stay healthy and sane, and they've emerged from isolation to be reunited with their families. The ESA's Mars500 page has further details on the experiment, and they've posted a video summarizing the 'trip.'

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Zero G (1, Informative)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946844)

How did they simulate zero gravity and its adverse effects on the human body??

Re:Zero G (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946874)

I'm assuming the study was more about human behaviour rather than things like that, and to answer your question, obviously they didn't simulate it.

Re:Zero G (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947308)

Or maybe they were simulating a Mars mission that uses artificial gravity [wikipedia.org] . Space travel does not imply weightlessness, folks.

Re:Zero G (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946886)

They didn't; this was a psychological experiment. We already know what long-term zero G does; we have the ISS for that.

Re:Zero G (3, Interesting)

Mephistophocles (930357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947082)

Not sure I would completely agree with the effectiveness of this study from a psychological perspective. It's interesting, no doubt, but the problem is that the people in the capsule still know they're on earth, safe, etc. They have a known end date for the study, etc. Assuming all that's taken into account here of course, but I wouldn't rely on the results in assuming that a human could maintain santiy for this period of time while actually in flight.

Re:Zero G (1)

stewbee (1019450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947168)

I somewhat agree. One might be able to argue that it could be worse psychologically too. In that I mean that the participants still know that they are on earth, so why do I need to wait 6 minutes (guessing at a time delta here...) to get a response from 'earth' when I know that it shouldn't take that long. It could make a play on the frustration aspect of human psychology. If I were in space, I would just know that it's a limitation of radio waves being limited to the speed of light. On earth, it's just make believe.

Just playing devil's advocate here.

Re:Zero G (3, Insightful)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947264)

In that I mean that the participants still know that they are on earth, so why do I need to wait 6 minutes (guessing at a time delta here...) to get a response from 'earth' when I know that it shouldn't take that long.

Because it's part of the experiment, and they know it. Usually, factors like that are minimized in studies, but there isn't much you can do in this case.

Still, I agree that this isn't a very good test. One of the biggest factors on our sanity wasn't part of this test: fear. Even in low orbit, you know that a relatively thin layer of metal is all that protects you from death. If you have a major health issue, there are no ambulances to take you to the ER. Death literally surrounds you every moment you're out there, and living with that for nearly two years would likely take its toll.

In this study, you know you're monitored. If you lose containment, you're safe. If you have a heart attack, they will open the door and come get you. If your wife has a stroke, they'll let you out. Etc. I'd imagine that without knocking a random passerby on the head and waking them up on a fake spacecraft, it is extremely difficult to recreate the feeling of being out there.

Re:Zero G (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947510)

I'd imagine that without knocking a random passerby on the head and waking them up on a fake spacecraft, it is extremely difficult to recreate the feeling of being out there.

FUN

Re:Zero G (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948406)

Well, they could, without telling the occupants ahead of time, have mission control tell them there has been a nuclear war and not to leave the compound until they can get a team out to safely extract them. Or zombie apocalypse. Actually a more believable scenario could be contrived by building the habitat down a mineshaft and claiming there has been a cave-in.

Re:Zero G (3, Interesting)

stewbee (1019450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947558)

While slightly anecdotal, I was a submariner. If we ever were to have severe flooding, we would be going down to never return in all likelihood. Fortunately there are varying degrees of flooding, However I recognize space is not as forgiving. Now this certainly is a small case of comparing apples to oranges, there are still some similarities. You're locked in a tube and there is no way out, and if you do find a way out, you are probably hosed anyway. People always ask me how did I coped with being on a sub, and didn't it make you claustrophobic . I answer honestly and say that I didn't think about it and that it didn't bother me. It was actually kind of enjoyable and cool. I imagine that there are other people like me who would have a similar attitude about being in a space vessel.

Re:Zero G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947576)

Alright they had less fear, knowing that they are still on Earth; but they also had less excitement, knowing that it's not a real Mars mission. These effects might cancel out.

Re:Zero G (1)

danabnormal (1945354) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947614)

I somewhat agree. One might be able to argue that it could be worse psychologically too. In that I mean that the participants still know that they are on earth, so why do I need to wait 6 minutes (guessing at a time delta here...) to get a response from 'earth' when I know that it shouldn't take that long. It could make a play on the frustration aspect of human psychology. If I were in space, I would just know that it's a limitation of radio waves being limited to the speed of light. On earth, it's just make believe. Just playing devil's advocate here.

I agree with all of that. I'm a smoker. If I go on a transatlantic flight, I not once 'need' to have a cig or a craving, because I know that it just cannot, in anyway happen. The second you get to the terminal is a different matter tho....

Re:Zero G (3, Informative)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947550)

Already noted:

" Space veteran Sergei Krikalyov, who has spent a record 803 days in orbit, told Reuters: "It's useful but, sitting here on Earth, it won't solve real problems of long human exposure in space." "
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/03/us-russia-mars-isolation-idUSTRE7A22YD20111103 [reuters.com]

Life thretening situations? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947678)

I totally agree with you!. The psychology of the situation is flawed. Consider the following situation...

One of the test subjects has a serious life threating situation, say a heart attack or a stroke. He needs much more care than can be provided in the test environment. Do the people running the experiment just let him die or stop the experiment to help him? I'll bet they would not let him die, it's just human nature to do something if it is possible.. The subjects of the experiment know that the experiment can be stopped in such situations even if they are told that nothing will be done. What can the experimenters do, let him die? Therein lies the flaw in the experiment, on an actual trip to Mars, it will be impossible to get him more medical care than what is available in the space capsule.

Re:Life thretening situations? (1)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948442)

On the next experiment, they should plan to have some kind of "catastrophic event" happen outside the capsule. Tell them that there was an earthquake or something, and they can't get to them, and it could take months or years to get them out. This would help simulate that feeling of fear and panic.

Re:Zero G (1)

flahwho (1243110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947922)

they were still locked in a small box for 520 days and didnt go nutso...id say effective simulation with comparable results to what would happen in real- (off) world situation

Re:Zero G (2)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948252)

Sure, but it is the first step towards more effective studies. You don't just start with sending people in to space for two years. Imagine if the opposite outcome of this study had occurred, i.e. they all went batshit crazy. Well then we could say, "locking people up for two years in these relatively benign conditions made them crazy, it's just going to be a whole lot worse when we add in the stress of space. Maybe we should rethink our plans." But that didn't happen, so the results of this experiment tell us that two years in relatively benign conditions are ok, now we can up the ante and try something a little more stressful.

Re:Zero G (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946922)

OK, replying to myself. The first article shows a pic of the crew floating around on April 1st, but the second articke states "minus the weightlessness."

Oh, my brain will explode now!!!

Re:Zero G (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946970)

Weightless on 1 April

Yeah, might wanna think about that date a little :)

Re:Zero G (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947004)

Is that May Day?

Re:Zero G (3, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947202)

It's Ascension Sunday.

Re:Zero G (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948144)

I thought it was the 15th Wednesday After Pentecost

What about the stress of hazardous flight? (3, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947128)

How did they simulate zero gravity and its adverse effects on the human body??

Mir and ISS have done that. This seems to be a psychological test regarding isolation. However without the extreme risk of actual interplanetary spaceflight the psychological data might be limited. The stress of such a risk has to have an effect.

Which make me wonder if candidates for a Mars mission should be "old school" astronauts, those with experience as test pilots and who probably flew combat missions as well, or who did night carrier landing (*), etc.

(*) Maybe its a myth but I once heard that during the Vietnam war the US Navy wired up some pilots to record vital signs related to stress. Pilots were more stressed during night carrier landings than on combat missions near/over Hanoi (a very hazardous area for these pilots).

Re:What about the stress of hazardous flight? (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947240)

I don't think anyone stayed in a space station for 520 days though.

As bad as health degredation from being in space a short period of time is- wonder if they'll all come back from Mars blind, bent bones, muscles atrophied and carrying the mutant virus from "Species II"

Re:What about the stress of hazardous flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947638)

Dear god, not reading articles is one thing, but not bothering to use wikipedia for such a trivial fact check? Several people stayed in orbit for a year or more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spaceflight_records#Ten_longest_human_space_flights

Re:What about the stress of hazardous flight? (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947728)

That's all well and good but how are we to know if any of this is useful until we have managed to put somebody into space? It's all fantasy until then...

Re:What about the stress of hazardous flight? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948104)

I don't think anyone stayed in a space station for 520 days though.

Valeri Polyakov, launched 8 January 1994 (Soyuz TM-18), stayed at Mir for 437.7 days. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spaceflight_records#Ten_longest_human_space_flights [wikipedia.org]

Also of note: Sergei Krikalev has spent 803 days, 9 hours and 39 minutes, or 2.2 years in space over the span of six spaceflights on Soyuz, the Space Shuttle, Mir, and International Space Station.

Re:What about the stress of hazardous flight? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947914)

Which make me wonder if candidates for a Mars mission should be "old school" astronauts, those with experience as test pilots and who probably flew combat missions as well, or who did night carrier landing, etc.

None of those professions have any experience with long term isolation and any resulting stress. Their coping mechanisms are based around dealing with missions at most a few hours long the effects and after effects of adrenaline for brief periods. On top of that, a Mars mission includes very little actual flying.
 
So why should astronauts be pilots at all?
 
If you want individuals used to the stress of working under conditions of long term isolation in close quarters - look to submarines and to Antarctic overwinter crews.

Its not the piloting skills ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948356)

So why should astronauts be pilots at all?

I could have phrased things better. I didn't really mean to suggest they should necessarily all be test pilots, that was more of a reference to what old school astronauts were. I think they should all have some sort of experience in extremely high risk activities where things go wrong and someone has to deal with it really really quickly. Preferably having actually experienced such situations. I think having experienced such situations and having dealt with them is what is the more important characteristic of test and combat pilots, not necessarily their piloting skills.

Re:Zero G (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947278)

They didn't simulate zero-g. A zero-gravity environment results in an average 1% loss of Bone Mineral Density per month (PDF) [nasa.gov] and muscle atrophy; however, these detrimental effects on the body might be countered by putting astronauts in a centrifuge [wired.com] for some time each day. We have seen plenty of astronauts experience extended periods of time in zero-g and in isolation though. The record for the longest space flight is held by Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days traveling 300,765,000 km orbiting the Earth [wikipedia.org] on the Mir space station and who said his experience [nytimes.com] showed that “it is possible to preserve your physical and psychological health throughout a mission similar in length to a flight to Mars and back.”

Re:Zero G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947796)

Who cares? Who can simulate their spouses being faithful for two years?

Are these social effects also studied?

520 days (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946854)

That's a long time to hold a fart

Pretty cool, but... (0)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946910)

How realistic is this except for the psychological aspect? How easy will it be to stay healthy in 0g?

Re:Pretty cool, but... (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947022)

That's beyond the scope of this experiment.

Between Mir and ISS, we already have some pretty good data about the physiological impact of medium-term weightlessness.

Re:Pretty cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947048)

They could simulate gravity.
I believe this was experimented with to see if it works and I think it was successful, and even gave an equation to limit the nauseating effects of artificial gravity through rotation.

In addition to that, a recent paper was released that showed that the anti-oxidants in red grapes (wine and drinks too) can protect against inactivity, and possibly even prevent a lot of damage from 0g, done to muscles and the like, which is a huge problem and requires a lot of maintenance.
Prevent damage to muscles from inactivity (best I can find at the moment) [preventdisease.com]

So long story short, lets get our astronauts off their heads, FOR SCIENCE!

Re:Pretty cool, but... (2)

kirillart (1111591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947162)

Titov and Manarov spent 365 days in space in a single mission in 1987..1988. Then Manarov logged another 175 days on Mir, couple of years later. So, I guess, he was in pretty good health after his first mission ;-)

I know there will be a lot of jokes... (5, Insightful)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946918)

...but this is an important experiment to perform. Obviously they can't easily simulate the zero-g, radiation exposure, etc. of a long space mission, but the psychological question of "can you lock 5 people in a single-wide trailer for 2 years and expect them to not go completely bat shit insane?" is a valid one.

520 days is definitely enough to complete a round-trip Mars mission. This experiment suggests that you can successfully go "there and back again" without making your astronauts lose their mind.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946948)

Well, these specific astronauts. I wonder if they'd all be prepared to do the real thing now, or if once was enough?

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947054)

This is not the first time they made this experiment. The first two times it failed.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947072)

On one side, the stress of knowing that if anything breaks you'll evaporate in space could break your sanity. On the other, knowing you'll be the first person in another planet should help on not breaking your sanity. On the third side, deciding who'll be the first to touch down on Mars and becoming a world symbol can produce a murderous individual.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947318)

On one side, the stress of knowing that if anything breaks you'll evaporate in space could break your sanity. On the other, knowing you'll be the first person in another planet should help on not breaking your sanity. On the third side, deciding who'll be the first to touch down on Mars and becoming a world symbol can produce a murderous individual.

So swinging between paranoia and megalomania. Sounds healthy.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946960)

Except for the fact that the subjects know that they had help available from the outside in case of emergency.

I doubt they said "Oh, by the way, even if you all start dying and/or killing one another, we will NEVER open up and help you."

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946984)

Too bad we have nothing like the technology and resources required though. Still, it's fun to dream. Once, I kept a Britney Spears doll in my bed for two years, so I know I can go "there and back again".

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (5, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947024)

While I agree, there's one important psychological factor this study left out, and that's the potential fear that you may not make it back. I don't know how they'd be able to successfully simulate that.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947092)

Place a bomb inside with the detonator attached to a PRNG...
Of course no-one's going to agree to doing that...

But you could always pretend them you have, but only tell them after you've locked them in.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947232)

You can't even pretend. Not in any first-world country. Illegal without informed consent, which voids the usefulness.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947280)

That risk existed on every space shuttle flight. Doesn't seem to have been a problem.

Is there a list of what they tried to do?. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947314)

As in, how to invoke panic in the team? Like how many times if any did they suffer electrical/comm/breather outages? And do it unscheduled?

With 520+ days I can assume you could totally not have any contact with them for three weeks or more on purpose to see the effects. Cruel perhaps, but we don't have a great understanding of how people react. This looks a like a nice first step.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (2)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948198)

Put the trailer in Detroit?

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37948264)

One of the pilots was a gay black atheist and the rest were from Texas.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947276)

...but the psychological question of "can you lock 5 people in a single-wide trailer for 2 years and expect them to not go completely bat shit insane?" is a valid one.

Aren't there already scenarios like this with those in military service in nuclear subs?

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947620)

or trailer parks??

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947444)

Nonsense. It was not valid and even a waste of money.

British sailing Man-of-Wars would be out of contact with land for months at a time. American Whalers reported being at sea for three years in pursuit of the South Sea sperm whales. Those men did perfectly fine. These ships sometimes had hundreds of people and the men did not go bat shit insane.

No, there is far too much molly-coddling and concern for people's feelings in these matters. Get a small group of professional men together and Mars will be easily visited. If we as humans put our minds to it - colonized.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (2)

harperska (1376103) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947716)

These ships sometimes had hundreds of people

might possibly be the reason why

 

the men did not go bat shit insane.

When you get to hundreds of people, you now have a small community. Living in 'isolation' with 500 people for 3 years is night and day compared to the psychological experience of living in isolation with 5.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947972)

No, there is far too much molly-coddling and concern for people's feelings in these matters. Get a small group of professional men together and Mars will be easily visited.

I've actually lived in circumstances somewhat resembling those of this simulation - as a SSBN crewman. And let me assure you, people do indeed go bat shit insane under those conditions. The ships you so admire kept their crews under control with a combination of brutal discipline and extremely heavy physical work, something unlikely to be tried today, singly or in tandem.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (3, Interesting)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948122)

British sailing Man-of-Wars would be out of contact with land for months at a time. American Whalers reported being at sea for three years in pursuit of the South Sea sperm whales. Those men did perfectly fine. These ships sometimes had hundreds of people and the men did not go bat shit insane.

That is just wrong. Those ships were not riding the seas for three years with no contact with land. They had to stop and times to provision, unload cargo, perform repairs that would require calm waters and materials from land. So perhaps they were away from"home" for three years, but natives in the south pacific may from time to time had blue eyed babies. There was also rampant "buggery", discipline through fear and violence and death was treated a part of the risk, not the exception. Out of a hundred crew members, if you lose one or two on a cruise you just re-hire in port or just make do. Lose a crew on a 5/6 man space mission has way more impact on every aspect of the mission.

Someone else mentioned subs that go on patrol for 5-6 months as a closer example to this experiment. In that I slightly agree, but 5-6 months is not 520 days. Subs are equipped with some of the best food products for meals, vast media libraries, and a military structure that (on the surface) sets a standard of behavior. No navy has tried to run a sub for 2 years non stop underwater. Now that may could close to an ideal on earth experiment.

It would be easy to say "just send em up and see what happens", but when you are talking Billions of dollars invested with no direct return? I can understand a step wise approach. Whaling ships were a lot cheaper to build (thus lose) then a Mars spacecraft.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (2)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947788)

I have unwittingly been involved in a speeded up version of this experiment when travelling south to visit the in-laws at Christmas. 4 days is the equivalent of a year down there. I would have happily greased myself by throwing myself out of an airlock had I been in space.

Re:I know there will be a lot of jokes... (1)

idji (984038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948216)

18th century sailing to south pacific and back was essentially no different and they were gone 7 years or more.

Mars = New Australia (1)

MrSmith0011000100110 (1344879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946924)

Why don't we send convicts and CEO's(yes I know, same difference) on a space barge to Mars? Now discounting that they might run into an extra terrestrial, we get to solve a bunch of the world's problems a few billion dollars at a time.

Re:Mars = New Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947120)

Don't forget the telephone sanitizers.

DEVILS!!!! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946940)

They have become a race of Devils, filled with virulent iItalian islamocommunist trollery!!!! Fore hoses are necessary precaution at this stage!!!!! No pizza any timefor the next 48 hours MINIMUM!!!!!!!!!! Devil ass ass ass ass ass ass devil!!!!!!!

cosplay (5, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946990)

They so should have greeted the emerging "astronauts" wearing gorilla, chimp, and orangutan masks.

Re:cosplay (1)

Seth Leedy (1496395) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947170)

That would just be great !

Re: (2)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947246)

In Soviet Russia, damn-dirty-apes control YOU!

Wired (1)

kodiaktau (2351664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947016)

Wired's article in this last month was ok on the subject. This is really to see how some human lab rats can handle extended periods in a tank together. Funny thing is that there are others who have done this in space for longer with and without other humans.

Anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947038)

Anyone else notice the boss-eyed man?

He gave me a chuckle.

sorry, but no (0)

rjejr (921275) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947056)

Being locked in a room ON EARTH for 520 days doesn't even begin to measure the mental strain of being in SPACE for 520 days. I'm guessing if 1 of the 6 did go batshit w/ a knife police would have been sent in to stop this "experiment". For the first half of the trip every day in space is getting further from home w/ the excitement of being the first people to Mars, the way back to Earth they'll probably eat each other. But not in a good way.

Re:sorry, but no (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947126)

You have to start somewhere, this is still a valuable data point. Integrated "test" is hard to do without actually doing the real thing so... Just my $0.05

Re:sorry, but no (2)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947554)

Just my $0.05

Man, even anonymous opinions are subject to inflation these days....

Re:sorry, but no (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947324)

No, this really is how you "begin to measure the mental strain". First you test to see whether it's possible for them to survive a simulation of just the isolation and confinement, but without the weightlessness and danger. If-and-only-if that test goes well, you proceed to the next step (whatever that might be).

Re:sorry, but no (2)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948282)

With proper variable isolation a lot of useful psychological data can be obtained from such experiment, do not discard it just because it's not 100 percent like a real thing.

(guinea)Pigs Innnn Spaaaaaacee!!!! (2, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947076)

>> they were locked into a cluster of hermetically sealed habitat modules... ...lined with newspaper, and full of wood shavings and exercise wheels.

international crew? (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947100)

Unfortunately there's one big flaw in this experiment. The crew consisted of "three Russians, one Chinese and two [other] Europeans", which only demonstrates that Eurasians are capable of living together in that limited space for that period of time. We still don't know if an American could get along with them for that long. :)

Re:international crew? (3, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947292)

Doesn't matter. You want the launch craft as light as possible, so you wouldn't send an American anyways. :)

Re:international crew? (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947494)

We could send Barack Obama. Europeans seem to love him!

Re:international crew? (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948428)

Yes, but that is because he isn't really an American.

/ it's a joke guys- relax.

Shocking news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947130)

Welcome to Earth, Steve Jobs is DEAD!!

Re:Shocking news. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947396)

They had extremely high latency communications.

troolkore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947258)

Outreach are [the0s.com] on his

Newlywed? (1)

V-similitude (2186590) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947262)

Sitev, who led the team into the quarters just a few weeks after getting married, said he dreams about going to the seaside.

Boy, that's some crazy dedication to science . . . or maybe just crazy.

Re:Newlywed? (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947296)

I'm married.

I would SO volunteer to get locked away for two years.

Re:Newlywed? (3, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947382)

Yeah, I don't get that either. When I was single I would've signed up for a one-way trip to Mars, or a year-long stay in Antartica, or whatever in a heartbeat. Now, I wouldn't even take a job with lots of travel unless she is okay with it. Why create strong emotional bonds with someone only to turn around and not see them for years?

But in a similarly thousands of military men keep popping out kids during "war time" knowing they will likely be redeployed shortly and won't see them for years, if ever. Why would you do that? Why would you put that kind of burden on your wife? Why intentionally create children if you aren't going be there to support them and enjoy them. I just don't get it.

Re:Newlywed? (2)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947434)

if you aren't going be there to support them and enjoy them

You don't have kids, do you?

Re:Newlywed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947502)

if you aren't going be there to support them and enjoy them

You don't have kids, do you?

Given this and your other comment, your life sounds pretty terrible. Sorry.

Re:Newlywed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947572)

Sad to see a man who has apparently never had any enjoyment from his children.

Oh, I remember this episode (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947274)

Some guy is wandering around an apparently deserted town, trying to figure out why he doesn't remember who he is. Then it turns out he's in the airforce, and just hallucinating. That was a pretty good one.

Just ask Nelson Mandela how he got on. (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947462)

There are rather a few people who have been locked up for years longer and in worse conditions. They didn't know if any given day, was their last day either. Evidence on how people suffer when well outside an expected comfort zone must be well known. Ask a bomb disposal expert how they cope with knowing there is a higher than average chance of being killed at work. I bet polar scientists know a thing or two about remote working conditions and being cut off too.
But if you want a great example of how bat shit mental you go under stress watch any at sea Ellen MacArthur video diary. Nothing more fun that watching a a solo long-distance yachtswoman who doesn't like being a -distance yachtswoman break down on camera. High endurance levels over 71 days got to her rather quickly.
What's my point. erm you got me there.

My hat's off to them (1)

huiac (912723) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947522)

and I'm sure we all agree it's a tremendous achievement; but before we get too congratulatory, remember - now we have to bring them back.

ftfy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947536)

'Simulated' 'Mars' 'Mission' 'Returns' After '520' 'Days'

Final way out... (1)

garf (12900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947546)

If is was psychological experiment did they have the ability to kill each other or press the air door and stop the whole mission by killing everyone? I mean it's not very realistic if there isn't a final 'way out'.

There is at least one recorded event on a Soviet Antarctic based of one guy killing another with an ice pick over a game of chess.

No Girls? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947562)

I would like to see what would it be for the sanity of those guys if they are inside that capsule for 520 days with another woman, specially a hot scandinavian astronaut or something like that.

Would be like "big brother in mars"

Community Effort (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947656)

Why waste budget on this when most of Slashdot is conducting ongoing long-term isolation experiments?

Great, so they didn't summon a demon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947750)

... through a singularity device and collapse into abject homicidal psychosis. That's my benchmark for "psychologically valid".

Right then, just a few technical issues to sort out and you can send the away team.

We are fighting the last war (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947860)

Robots are getting so good, that the need for manned exploration of places like Mars is past it's prime. We could be drilling for water on Europa and mapping Io and many more mission if we saved on manned exploration of Mars. We could have a nuclear powered glider swooping around Mars at low altitude gathering data. The need for humans in places that are dangerous to them is moot. Robots can do this for less.

520 days out and.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37948200)

what? no girls in the crew?

Re:520 days out and.. (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948366)

520 / 28 = 18.6

I don't think the men would have survived,

Why would they want to go (1)

wolfheart111 (2496796) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948242)

What would the purpose to even send humans to mars. There is really no point but so send only rovers and such.

It's a hoax! (4, Funny)

daveewart (66895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948326)

I think this is all a hoax. I think they really went to Mars.

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