Mars 500
Monday, 07 April 2014 16:04

"Mars 500" (Russia; November 2007 – November 2011) - an experiment simulating a manned flight with landing on the Red planet and return to Earth. The main objective of the project was to obtain experimental data about the health and efficiency of the crew under prolonged isolation. All experiments took place in the medical-technical experimental complex, which consisted of several experimental units (EU). Module EU-50 (total volume 50 m3) designed to simulate the lander on Mars, designed for 3 crew members. EU-100 (total volume 100 m3) is designed for medical and psychological tests for 2 persons. EU-150 (total volume 150 m3) is designed for accommodation and living of 6 crew members. EU-250 (total volume 150 m3, length 24 m) is intended for storing of food stores, installation of the experimental greenhouse, clothing etc. Module of simulation of the Martian surface (SMS) is designed for testing the release of the crew on the Martian surface. The module SMS included: unpressurized compartment simulates the Martian surface, pressurized staircase, a caisson with a wardrobe and suits.

The project "Mars 500" consisted of three stages of isolation: 14 days isolation, 105 daily insulation and 520 daily isolation. The first stage in the isolation of 14 days was held in two modules of EU-150 and EU-100 (medical module). The crew: Dmitry Perfilov (doctor), Alexander Kovalev (engineer in the field of medical biology), Marina Tugusheva (biologist), Sergei Ryazanskiy (cosmonaut-researcher) – the commander of the crew, Anton Artamonov (engineer-physicist, programmer), Oleg Artemyev (engineer in engineering and physics). The main purpose was to test the functionality of system modules evaluation of their usability and maintainability. A crew of 6 people held in isolation for 14 days and proved that modules meet all necessary requirements. The first phase was completed in November 2007.

The second stage 105 daily isolation took place from 31 March to 14 July 2009. The crew: Oleg Artemyev (cosmonaut-researcher), Sergey Ryazanskiy (cosmonaut-researcher) – the commander of the crew, Oliver Knickel (military engineer), Alexey Baranov (urologist, oncologist), Cyril Fournier (airline pilot), Alexei Shpakov (specialist in physical culture and sport). The main objective of the second stage is acquisition and analysis of scientific-technical information for optimal organization of preparation and efficient conduction of the main experiment for 520 day isolation. The results of the experiment, data were obtained about the features of physiological and psychological adaptation of crew members to conditions of Autonomous functioning for 105 days of crew interaction with the experiment control center at changed communication conditions; verification of medical-technical equipment, means of life support of the crew and scientific equipment; the list and content of organizational-methodological documentation.

The third stage - 520 daily isolation with access to the simulated Martian surface was held from 3 June 2010 to 4 November 2011. From all, more than 6000 applications  over the world, serious commission chose six people. Crew: Sukhrob Kamolov (doctor), Romain Charles (engineer), Alexander Smoleevsky (physician), Diego Urbina (engineer), Alex Sitev (engineer) – crew commander, Wang Yue (specialist for selection of cosmonauts).

In the first simulated flight to Mars were recruited only men. The objectivs is flying to the Red planet, landing and sample collection, return the entire crew to Earth. During the whole flight was conducted daily training, withdrawal of medical evidence both day and night, working out possible emergency situations several times a day communication with the ground, the cultivation of planting chinese cabbage in greenhouses (experiment "Salad machine"). During the flight, like in real spaceship, there was allowed correspondence with relatives. Communication went through the mission control center (MCC). The main migratory module EU-150 consisted of: 6 individual cabins, Lounges and common gathering, kitchen, bathroom, master control, three transitional gateway system of life support.

On the 50 day the ship passed the force of gravity and the point of no return. Then the spaceship took the trajectory flight to Mars. 1 Feb 2011 the ship went into Mars orbit and opened hatch to the EU-50.

On the 12 February there was a division of the crew, Aleksandr Smoleevsky Diego Urbina and Wang Yue went to EU-50, then undocking and landing on Mars in the area of Gusev crater. 14 February was the transition into the airlock, dressing up spacesuit  (weight spacesuit – 32 kg) and getting out on a simulated Martian surface (Alexander Smoleevsky and Diego Urbina). During that mission it was three times, when astronauts getting out on the Martian surface, samples were taken of soil and atmosphere, as well as the experience to work in Mars suits. On 23 February there was a rise from the surface of Mars. 24 Feb 2011 – docked with the main ship, the ship and the beginning of the quarantine. 27 february 2011 – the end of the quarantine, opening the hatch in the EU-150 and the merging of the crews. Next came the flight to the Ground.1 March 2011 – the closing of the hatch EU-50. 4 Nov 2011 the ship went into orbit and performed docking with the international space station (ISS) – the entire crew left the experimental complex. All the data obtained in the experiment "Mars-500" will be used in the future flight to the Red planet.