Fake Mars Astronauts Are Approaching Fake Mars!

By Patrick Morgan | January 21, 2011 11:13 am

With less than 10,000 miles to go until they reach fake Mars, the fake mission to the Red Planet is going as planned. Which is to say, the space travel simulation project known as Mars-500 project is full of mishaps and surprises, as the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems tests the fake astronauts’ ability to handle anything outer space could throw at them.

The next milestone: the fake arrival in Mars orbit on February 1.

And for being confined to a 1,800-square-foot test module for 520 lonely days, the crew members are doing a stellar job. In their last update, published on the official Mars-500 website on January 14, they give a terse but positive appraisal of their condition:

226th day of the experiment. Scientific equipment is in operable condition. Clarification for implementation of special experiments is carried out. There are no alterations of health state which can interfere with participating in the experiment and realizing of scientific program.

The list of experiments is long, and they’re all meant to test the many difficulties involved in actually traveling to Mars, from astronauts’ overall health to their sleeping patters, as well as the psychological effects of their confinement and isolation. The crew charts such things as the efficacy of their physical training, the amount of salt they’re consuming, and how they’re functioning as a team. Of course, as we’ve mentioned before, this terrestrial simulation can’t examine certain serious issues that a Mars mission would have to deal with, like astronauts’ increased radiation exposure and the physical effects of prolonged weightlessness.

In December, a “crisis” struck that is probably the nightmare of many an astronaut: the electricity in the module went out. Of course, every mishap is planned by the Russian engineers on the outside, but the astronauts don’t know when and how set-backs will happen. As one of the astronauts wrote in his diary:

We didn’t know how long it would take for the engineers’ team to solve the problem. So, to save some power on the emergency batteries and to avoid any new issues, we unplugged all the electric devices and we even removed the bulb of some security lamps which weren’t needed. In the end only two lights remained: one in the kitchen and one near the bathroom.

The astronauts pulled together, didn’t panic, and did the only thing they could do in such a situation: trust that the engineers would figure out the problem. By the next morning the power was back, which goes to show that overcoming fake mishaps in a fake mission can lead to real rejoicing.

Related Content:
80beats: “See You in 520 Days!” Pretend-Astronauts Begin Simulated Trip to Mars
80beats: Six “Astronauts” Prepare for 17 Months in Isolation to Simulate Mars Mission
80beats: After Three Months in a Tin Can, Three Men End Simulated Mars Mission
80beats: Traveling to Mars? You’ll Need This Miniature Magnetic Force-Field
DISCOVER: Russia’s Dark Horse Plan to Get to Mars

Image: IBMP


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Events, Space & Aliens Therefrom
  • gamercow

    Even if it is a fake mission, and they are not weightless, an experiment like this leads to discovering and solving new problems that might not have been thought of before. Now if only the US could do something like this. Surely it doesn’t cost much, in the big scheme of things.

  • Anne Ominous

    I am fake impressed. Even the fake paneling in their fake habitat fake impresses me.

    I am also fake curious, however, about how they are managing to fake osteoporosis. And fake the radiation exposure. I suppose huge doses of aspirin and small doses of mercury might do a good job of causing fake symptoms.

  • Anthony

    @2
    I think the simulation was more to test social effects on possible astronauts for extended durations, than actual physical effects of being in space and/or on Mars.

  • ThunderyEnd

    A real Mars trip in zero-g would actually remove one of the major social issues that these guys had to put up with in the fake mission, namely the smell.
    In zero-g/freefall the sinuses fill with fluid totally removing your sense of smell, which could only be a good thing in such cramped quarters.

  • mary dicerni

    Since we are always short on jail-space, I wondered when they would be able to take some fake prisoners along with them and just leave them there.?? A new drop zone may put some fear in the future patrons . A real new hot spot for the most deserving.

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