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15 Sep, 2010 05:00

Russian crew breaks record for isolation in simulated 520-day trip to Mars

The experimental Mars 500 crew has now spent over 100 days isolated in a simulated space craft. Scientists have been watching them closely to test what it would be like to travel to the Red Planet.

The Mars 500 crew has been locked in their mock up space module for over a hundred days now and has several hundred more to go. They live an ordinary life, but in an extraordinary setting. Psychologists are watching for signs of stress or tension.“Experiments in psychology are quite exciting,” says Yury Bubeyev, head of the Psychology and Psychophysiology department of the Mars 500 program. “The way they communicate with the Control Center, and, in particular, the texts they write for radio communications and emails are important sources for psychologists who see their mental state and the way they are interacting.”The six men entered their voluntary isolation back in June, simulating the estimated 520-day voyage to Mars, a mock Mars landing, and the trip back.