Europe to Join 500-Day Mock Mission to Mars

The European Space Agency (ESA) will partner with Russian researchers to lock a crew of six people in metal tubes for a simulated trip to Mars.
Known as Mars500, the simulated space mission will take place in an isolation facility in Russia, allowing organizers to study the difficulties presented by such a lengthy spaceflight. The participants, selected from a pool of volunteers, will attempt to re-create all elements of an actual mission, including launch, an outboard journey, a research trip to the planet’s surface, and the return trip—all of which will take 500 days.
Locked inside the research station, the crew will have to deal with limitations such as a carefully portioned food supply, 20-minute delays in communication, and simulated emergencies, with the further possibility of real medical emergencies arising.