Space Crew Emerges from Simulated Mars Journey After 520 Days in Isolation

For nearly a Year and a Half, a crew of volunteer astronauts who joined the Mars500 mission, were locked up in a small capsule. NASA wanted to see if the isolation was going to have some sort of psychological effects on the astronauts. The Mars mission technically, never really left the Earth, but they did go through the isolation problems that they would have to go through if they really did made a trip to Mars.

After they “landed” in Mars on February, they suit up and followed the appropriate procedure. The scientist wanted to make sure the crew’s brain stress levels were good enough to make important decisions. The crew conducted a couple of experiments on a simulated martian terrain, and was then sent back home.

Turns out the mission was a success.

“But Patrik Sundblad, the human life sciences specialist at the ESA, says the simulation has proved a complete success. “Yes, the crew can survive the inevitable isolation that is for a mission to Mars and back,” Sundblad stated. “Psychologically, we can do it.”

But technologically were still years behind, scientist don’t have a way to get humans there, much less, bring them back. Even though the astronauts phased the same problems they would face if they were actually traveling in space, not having anything to see through the windows, no cellphone communication, no “facebook or social media,” they did have the ability to e-mail their family members. The e-mails, however,  were delayed on purpose – based on a simulated distance from Earth to add that extra bit of reality. The researchers believed that in order to keep the astronauts sane in the space craft, they needed to have some sort of contact with their family members back home, and that e-mailing was crucial for a successful mission.

The simulator’s door officially opens at 5 p.m. EST and can be watched live streamed on the ESA’s website, after they step out of the capsule, they will have to go through another 4 days of health checks to really make sure everything went okay. The only problem I see with this is that they should have done this experiment in outer space next to the ISS. The effects of anti gravity could add an added challenge to the astronauts. I guess once we figure out how to make a space craft that can get us there, they’ll focus on that problem, but in the mean time, a capsule will have to do. Via ArsTechnica