Feeds

ESA wants to send you to Mars*

*A simulation of Mars, anyway

High performance access to file storage

The European Space Agency (ESA) is recruiting volunteers for a simulated trip to Mars. Wannabe astronauts will have to be made of sturdy stuff: the mission will involve being locked, with five other people, in a metal tank somewhere in Moscow for 500 days.

The experiment is being organised by the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP). The idea is to find out more about the psychological and medical implications of such a long mission.

ESA scientist Marc Heppener said: "You have to have all kinds of back-up scenarios. To think all of that through is really difficult. We think doing a full simulation will teach us a lot."

The "crew" will be confined to a series of metal cabins, with a total area of around 200 sqaure metres. There will be designated areas for food, science, sleeping, and so on. They will even have a smaller lander that they'll have to get into for the simulated landing on Mars.

They will also be put through all kinds of tests, including simulated emergencies. They will have a limited supply of food, and will also have to live with an increasing communications delay - up to 20 minutes each way when they arrive on "Mars".

ESA says the crew may also have to deal with real emergencies, although it doesn't say how far the experiment's managers will let things go before intervening. Only one crew member will have medical training.

ESA is still negotiating with the Russians, but says it hopes to send two crew members. It says the selections criteria are similar to those that would be applied in the case of a real mission to Mars. The physical condition criterion might be relaxed ever so slightly, however.

The space agency says it is also interested in suggestions for scientific experiments that could be included in the study.

Heppener elaborates: "We have a first draft list of the kind of science we are looking for. Such as crew composition, the influence of confinement on sleep, mood and mental health, and the effect of differences in personality, cultural background, and motivation...On the medical side, physiological adaptation to an isolated environment, stress effects on health and well-being, changes in the immune system.

"We are open to all good scientific proposals. Following a peer review we will make our selection of the best science."

ESA will formally begin its search for volunteers in June and says it hopes to have its selection complete by November. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.