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Simulated Mission to Mars Virtually Lands on the Red Planet

14. February 2011 by Christy 0 Comments

On Saturday, the crew of Russia’s simulated mission to Mars “landed” on the red planet, and today Russia's Alexander Smoleyevsky and Italy's Diego Urbina completed their first simulated walk on the surface of Earth’s neighbor.

"For centuries Europeans have been exploring the Earth, led by such people as Columbus and Magellan. Today, looking at the landscape of this red planet, I can imagine how exciting it would look with the eyes of the first person who steps his foot on Mars," Urbina said after he and Smoleyevsky returned from the virtual walk.

According to Igor Ushakov, director of the Moscow-based Institute for Biomedical Problems, two other walks are planned in the next week, one on Friday (February 18) and one on February 22nd  The Institute for Biomedical Problems is the main organization coordinating the project.

Smoleyevsky and Urbina are two of six men participating in a simulated mission designed to measure the psychological and physical toll a mission to Mars might have on humans. Locked in a windowless capsule in Moscow, the three Russians, two Europeans, and Chinese national must follow a strict exercise and diet regime, cope with unexpected crises, and deal with the challenges of constant, close contact with fellow participants.

Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the Russian Space Agency, estimates that a real mission to Mars could happen in the next 20 years.

"Twenty years is a good time to prepare for such an expedition. I think it is quite realistic.”

Source: CNN