«Mars-500» project
Simulation of a manned flight to Mars

The main results of 105-day isolation

A preliminary, 105-day experiment, simulating the main peculiarities of a manned space flight to Mars, has been conducted successfully. An international crew consisting of four representatives of the Russian Federation and two representatives of European space agency participated in it. More than 70 Russian and foreign experiments were conducted, aimed at investigation of peculiarities of physiological and psychological adaptation of the crew members to conditions of autonomous func-tioning, interaction of the crew with the personnel of the experiment control center at changed condi-tions of communication, etc. The list and contents of the organization-methodological documentation, necessary for the con-duction of the main 520-day experiment on simulation of a manned flight to Mars, was specified.

Investigation of the mechanisms of adaptation of living systems during simulation of the main peculiarities of a manned Martian expedition

Criteria of the medical and psychological selection of the investigators-volunteers for the main 520-day experiments were specified.

No negative influence was found out of the noise exposition in the experiment on the state of the hearing function of the investigators-volunteers.

Positive effect was shown of course intake of phytopreparation on operators’ activity, at this no negative influence was observed on cardio-vascular system, hematological indices and indices of metabolism.

A method was verified of remote diagnostics of the state of mouth cavity with the help of a special intraoral digital videocamera with further transfer of the image to “Earth” for processing and analysis of the data.

With the use of the method of assessment of the level of constant potential of brain, in all the investigators unidirectional changes were observed – decrease of the potential in the period of isolation with restoration of its level after finishing of the experiment.

Conducted for the first time automated content-analysis of the written reports of the personnel of the experiment control center allowed to single out and to describe quantitatively peculiarities and strategies of communicative behavior of humans not depending on the periods of adaptation to the stage of the experiment.

During isolation in investigators increase of activity of creatin phosphokinase, creatinine, magne-sium and ferrum in blood was observed, tendency to decrease of concentration of total protein, urea, uric oxide, cholesterol and its fractions during compensatory increase of triglycerids content, decrease of activity of total and pancreatic lipase and amylase, not significant slowing of blood coagulation on the external way.

It was shown, that staying in pressurized facility led to hypermobilization of the functional state of the system of natural resistance of the organisms, expressed in intensification of expression of adhesive receptors, and functional activity of phagocyte cells.

No significant changes were observed in energy-forming system of erythrocytes. Compensatory increase was observed of the activity of G6PD gene and decrease of erythropoietin. Analogous results are obtained from cosmonauts in the first weeks after finishing of long-term space flights.

The analysis of psycho-physiological status, concentration of hormones in blood and anthropome-trical data showed that changes of most of them were in the frameworks of physiological norm. Two groups of investigators were singled out, one of them was characterized by moderately expressed conservatism and high degree of conformity, the other one – by expressed individualism and inde-pendence of behavior. At this the members of both groups had high stress-tolerance and self-control, low situational and personal anxiety.

With the help of three-dimensional computer quantitative tomography in most investigators after the experiment deterioration was observed of the indices of microarchitecture of the radial bone, osteopenia was registered of the tibial bone at existence of reliable signs of deterioration of its quality; the value of the bone mass was practically preserved at the initial level.

Significant individual differences were observed between the character of adaptation reactions of the investigators determined by different level of functional reserves of the organism, diapasons were determined of normal changes of the main indices of cardio-vascular homeostasis and vegetative regulation.

It was observed, that the parameters of biomechanics of respiration were within the frameworks of physiological norms, that pointed to stable external respiration in conditions of isolation. Ventilation and gas exchange at rest (in conditions of the main exchange) were preserved at the level of the background values. Emission of endogenous CO had daily fluctuations, depending on the motor activity, lungs ventilations and volume of buffer systems, remaining, at this in the frameworks of the physiological norm.

Investigation of the food status of the organism showed, that in conditions of staying in pressurized facility and the used food ration can be the reason for weight loss, changing of metabolism of carbohydrates, mobilization of subcutaneous fat with its concentration in liver, disbacteriosis of intestines, intensification of evacuation function of the stomach and slowing of the work of intestines.

During the isolation expressed decrease of the concentration of individual proteins – haptoglobin, α2-macroglobulin, and α1-antitrypsin was observed to restoration. It can be supposed that a significant role in development of protein composition of the blood plasma can be played by the factors and conditions of the habitat.

It was determined that contrast sensitiveness of the vision organ and directly connected with it space-frequency characteristics (SFC) are informative indices of interrelation between processing of visual information and psycho-physiological parameters of humans. Changes of psycho-physiological state were accompanied by corresponding changes of SFC of the vision organ, that can be used for neuro-information technologies of restoration of the functional state and working capacity of the operator, and also for management over the surrounding light-colour habitat.

For the first time efficiency was shown of the use of probiotic means, made on the basis of auto-strains of Enterococcus faecium on the principally new carrier – tablet absorbent carbon. During investigation of the influence of auto-strains on microflora of intestines on humans in oligate form increase was observed of the quantity of bifid bacteria, enterococcus, not significantly – lacto bacteria. In the facultative flora decrease was observed of the content of S. aureus, E. Coli with the changed biochemical characteristics, Streprtococcus viridians, fungi-like fungi of Candida species, and also significant decrease of the quantity of mold fungi and gram-negative non fermentative rods.

Higher productivity of plants was observed, grown in the pressurized facility as compared to the laboratory control.

The results of the satellite investigation

For the first time simultaneously with 105-day pressurized chamber experiment long-term dynamic medical-ecological investigations were conducted of practically healthy people in 8 regions of the country and the world. The results of the investigations showed that staying in natural conditions of the habitat is characterized by more significant fluctuations of the indices of vegetative regulation of the cardio-vascular system, than staying in conditions of isolation, where the functional state of the organism is more stable and is preserved at the level close to the initial one for a long time.

During 45 days growing of plants was conducted in climatically pressurized chamber with small volume, the parameters of the habitat of which complied with the parameters of the habitat of one of the modules of the facility, where 105-day experiment was conducted. It was shown that cultivation of plants did not have any negative influence on the growth of plants and did not lead to deterioration of microbiological status in the chamber.

In the laboratory investigations – higher efficiency was shown – on time and energy volumes – of disinfecting of water with the use of SHF-energy as compared to its warm heating.


Investigation of microbiological markers of different substrates with the aim of development of technology of express-diagnostics of microbial status of humans and microbial contamination of artificial habitat.

In 105-day experiment with isolation of 6 investigators-volunteers in the pressurized facility:

  • diagnostics of microbiological status of the investigators-volunteers was conducted;
  • assessment of the species composition of microorganisms, conducted with the help of bacterio-logical and chromate-mass-spectrometry methods of detecting, showed prevailing of the later in decoding of the quantitative-qualitative spectrum of microflora;
  • possibility was shown of creation of microbiological “passport” of humans with the aim of therapy and prophylaxis of infectious-inflammatory processes and disbacteriosis, that is especially important for biomedical support of interplanetary flights.

In 105-day experiment with isolation of 6 investigators-volunteers in pressurized facility advan-tage was shown of a new, easier in application method of contact prints for express-diagnostics of sanitary-microbiological state of the surfaces of the interior and equipment as compared to the nominal method of swabs from the surface. This method can be used for sanitary-microbiological monitoring of the habitat of a space ship and other pressurized facilities.


In the scientific program of “Mars-105” experiment 22 research projects on psychology were included, submitted by scientists from different countries: the USA (3 projects), Russia (12 projects), European Union (5 projects), Czech republic (2 projects). The main objectives solved in the frameworks of the proposed investigations were as follows: investigation of group aspects of adaptation to the simulated conditions of a flight to Mars, motivation and personal values of the crew members; investigation of peculiarities of communication with the external world in conditions of limitations of a Martian flight; investigation of the emotional state and mental working capacity of the crew members, dynamics of cognitive functions; investigation of the influence of the simulated conditions on the peculiarities of the operator’s activity and professional reliability, on alertness and sleep-wakefulness regime; development of the system of psychological support of the crew.

The main results of psychological investigations, obtained in “Mars-105” experiment:

In-depth system of psychological selection of the crew was verified, including criteria of early diagnostics and prognosis of adverse personal dynamics, the use of which allowed to apply efficiently means of countermeasures and psychological support.

Criteria were approved of group selection and rational forming of the crew, taking into account limitations, typical for a manned flight to Mars. It was shown that application of the set of the selected methods of assessment of interaction in the crew allows to assess efficiently group behavior and diagnose existence of interpersonal problems in autonomous conditions. Recommendations were worked out for improvement of group selection during preparation of the experiment with 520-day isolation.

In “Mars-105” experiment automated content-analysis was conducted for the first time of reports of persons on duty, devoted to description of the implementation of the program and work of the equipment. It was shown, that the period of relative autonomy of the crew’s existence with its determined limitations of communication with the Control center (first of all, of audio-communication) led to the increase of the volume of information, transferred in a form of written reports. In the reports for this period increase was observed of the number of utterances containing words of the category of “Activity”, and also “Demands” and “Social regulation”. Conclusion was made that autonomous existence, on the one hand, stimulated own activity of the crew, on the other hand – it was a problem for realization of life and activity of the group.

Recommendations were developed on organization of psychological support in the experiment with 520-day isolation, that should be unique for all the crew members, not depending on their affiliation to different space agencies. This will take into account individual characteristics of the crew. Principles were proposed of organization of information flows taking into consideration changes of communication regimes with the crew at different stages of simulation of a flight to Mars. Means of optimization of the functional state of the crew members and training devices for maintenance of skills of professional training of operators in autonomous conditions were approved successfully.

© Development and desing: Oleg Voloshin