Gastronauts: NASA’s Hawaiian Mars diet experiment
The US has left the ExoMars joint project with European Space Agency (ESA) to send missions to Mars in 2016 and 2018 due to lack of funding.
Still, development of a new rocket for deep-space exploration continues.
Now Russia’s Federal Space Corporation Roscosmos is showing interest in teaming up with ESA to jointly send man to Mars on a Russian rocket by the end of this decade.
“This is going to be a purely Russian-European project. In March Russia might make the decision to join ExoMars,” the head of Roscosmos Vladimir Popovkin told journalists. He said the offer of ESA sounds interesting and a joint group is already elaborating an agreement.
In the meantime Russia has already proven that a 100-million-kilometer round trip to Mars is possible – at least in socio-psychological way. In early November 2010 a mock expedition Mars-500 finally “returned” to Earth in Moscow.Six volunteers, including three Russians, as well as representatives from Europe, China and South America, spent 520 days sealed in an imitation spaceship, researching human psychological and physiological capacities.The half dozen international “cosmonauts” of the Russian experiment were actually eating their precooked rations for 17 months. They also ate vegetables from a prototype of a “salad machine”: space conveying salad greenhouse “Phytocycle SD”.Mars-500 participants succeeded in fulfilling the task. They did so without drastic weight loss and – which is probably even more important – getting along with each other well enough to get out of the mock ship as a team, not as a bunch of burnt-out, irritated individuals.