With less than 48 hours left to go – and after 520 days – the Mars500 crew will officially “open the hatch” on their isolation on November 4. Scientists are eagerly awaiting the last of the experiments, but the inside team is awaiting freedom. They’ve been there since June of last year!
It’s been 17 long months filled with countless hours of experiments. During this simulated Mars mission, these gents have had their brains monitored, bodies scanned, donated samples and kept house. On top of that, they’ve done it so well that scientists can’t wait to get their hands on the results. The most important question of all has already been answered.
And the answer is “Yes.”
Can you imagine what would almost seem like purgatory? Even the most dedicated of us get days off, and knowing you truly aren’t in space would be a difficult hurdle to overcome. “They have had their ups and downs, but these were to be expected. In fact, we anticipated many more problems, but the crew has been doing surprisingly well.” continues Sunblad. “August was the mental low point: it was the most monotonous phase of the mission, their friends and families were on vacation and didn’t send so many messages, and there was also little variation in food.”
However, things didn’t stay bleak for long. Morale returned as the end came into sight after an artificial delay and communications with friends and family began again on September 15th. “The high fidelity of the simulation has been an important factor in the success of the experiment,” notes Patrik. “Simulating a real mission to Mars as closely as is possible on Earth has been very important for the crew. Knowing this mission is really helping to make a real mission to Mars possible has made the challenging long-duration experiment somehow easier for the crew.”
Way to go, Mars500 crew! The first round is on the house…
Original Story Source: ESA News Release.