Feeds

ESA wants to send you to Mars*

*A simulation of Mars, anyway

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.