Six astronauts have emerged from an isolation test in Moscow in which they simulated an entire mission to Mars. The Mars500 astronauts – three from Russia, two from Europe and one from China – spent 520 days in their fake rocket before ‘coming home’ on Friday.
During the mission, the astronauts had to deal with various simulated emergencies, as well as a simulated landing on the Martian surface. But the real challenge, and the real reason for the $10 European Space Agency (ESA) project, was to see how they would cope in the rocket for so long.
Now that the astronauts are out, they will spend a few days in quarantine before speaking to the media. They will also be tested for any psychological effects of their ‘journey’, as the ESA continues to ponder the practicalities involved in sending men to Mars.