Europe names crew for Mars 'mission'

Feb 26, 2009
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image shows Mars in 2005. The European Space Agency (ESA) on Friday named a Frenchman and a German who will join four Russians in an innovative 105-day isolation experiment to test whether humans can one day fly to Mars.

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Friday named a Frenchman and a German who will join four Russians in an innovative 105-day isolation experiment to test whether humans can one day fly to Mars.

From March 31, the six "crew" will be locked inside a special facility in Moscow that replicates conditions of a space trip to Mars.

The simulation will be followed by a 520-day experiment, starting later this year, that would last as long as a real mission to Mars.

The two Europeans are Oliver Knickel, 28, a mechanical engineer in the German army, and Cyrille Fournier, 40, a captain with Air France who flies A320 airliners, ESA said in a press release.

The distance between Earth and Mars varies between 55 million kilometres (34 million miles) and more than 400 million kms (250 million miles).

Using current rocket technology, a there-and-back trip to the Red Planet would take at least 18 months.

Maintaining the crew's mental and physical health is deemed by space scientists to be as challenging as gathering the money and technical resources for the historic trip.

The six guinea pigs will be scrutinised for stress, mood, hormone regulation, immune defences and sleep quality.

Researchers also want to know whether dietary supplements will sustain their health.

The simulation will include all the main elements of a simulated Mars mission, including travelling to Mars, orbiting the planet, landing on its surface and returning to Earth, ESA said.

"The crew will only have personal contact with each other, plus voice contact with a simulated control centre and family and friends," it said.

"A 20-minute delay will be built into communications with the control centre to simulate an interplanetary mission and the crew will eat the same food as the astronauts on the International Space Station."

The project is a joint venture between ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight and the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP).

ESA and NASA have separately sketched dates around three decades from now for a manned flight to Mars.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Bitcoin gets easier for consumers to buy, spend

Apr 11, 2014

It's getting easier for consumers to buy and spend bitcoin, the cybercurrency that has captured much of the tech world. With each passing month, entrepreneurs are rolling out new technology for consumers to buy and store ...

India's mission to Mars crosses half-way mark

Apr 09, 2014

India's first mission to Mars successfully crossed the half-way mark on Wednesday, four months after leaving on an voyage to the Red Planet scheduled to take 11 months, the space agency said.

Recommended for you

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

20 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

22 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

Apr 18, 2014

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

definitude
1 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2009
How about sending up three expoditions at once, in the same window of oppertunity. This way we will not have to deal with the isolation factor.
out7x
1.5 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2009
Isolation will not be a factor. Cosmic radiation will.
Suzu
1 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2009
Problem is, they'll still be aware that they are on earth. Only 1 test group. /shrug
ScottyB
1 / 5 (2) Mar 02, 2009
Space radiation wont necessarily be a problem, look here http://www.physor...546.html

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...