Mars-500
«Mars-500» project
Simulation of a manned flight to Mars
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Today is the beginning of the year with 520-day isolation experiment, the Mars-500 ". In this connection with this important anniversary, we decided to ask the crew a few questions - to ask about how they survived this year, what are the plans and the like.

Questions:

  1. One year passed since the start of your “flight to Mars”. Is it difficult trial for you today?
  2. What helps you to hold on?
  3. Would you agree to participate in such experiments one more time?
  4. Had you a longing to go out before the appointed time?
  5. What were the most spectacular events (impressive episodes) for you during this year?   
  6. What is your attitude to each other? Have you become cohesive team?
  7. Have you become friends?
  8. What do you dream to do right after the finishing of this experiment?
  9. What do you miss most of all? What things? What sensations?
  10. Did you feel yourselves really flying to another planet?
  11. Are there any experiments which you do not like to perform? Are there any experiments which you like to perform?
  12. Do you have your own special ritual/rite now?
  13. Which language do you use for communication?
  14. What are your favorite relaxations/funs/diversions?
  15. Do your family and friends support you?
  16. What world events impressed you most of all?
  17. Do you really think that this experiment will be benefit for humanity?
  18. Do you feel involvement into important historical event? Have you a feeling and understanding of the fact that you go down in history of space researches?

Answers:

Alexey Sitev (crew commander)

  1. This trial is not difficult at this moment.
  2. We became accustomed to everything. Dropped into rhythm.
  3. Everything is possible.
  4. No.
  5. Work of Martian descent group.
  6. Relations are good. Joint work unites people.
  7. Of course.
  8. I don’t dream anything yet. It is too early.
  9. Fried meat.
  10. No, I did not. I am fully aware of my location. And I have normal space-time orientation.
  11. I do not like sleep investigations. And there are a lot of repeated, similar questions in psychological tests. I like “Pilot-1” – training on docking to ISS. In general, I have equal attitude to all experiments.
  12. To perform my job excellently.
  13. Russian and English.
  14. Books, computer games. They take more time than watching movie. 
  15. Yes. I am constantly in correspondence with them.
  16. From the events that we know – the Japanese earthquake, war in Libya, disorders in the Near East. Losing of our national ice-hockey team.
  17. I should not participate in fool's errand.
  18. Not yet. We just make our job. But permanent attention of many high-ranking guests and delegations to us, accosts and greetings make us regularly thinking about this. But again… Our work is not finished yet.

Sukhrob Kamolov (crew physician)

  1. Probably now it is easier, because we got subconsciously accustomed to isolation and time has its effect. In fact one year has passed and only 5 months left. So if one compares with first 5 months it is easier now.  
  2. The fact that we do all this not for nought. That one day our knowledge will be needed and some experimental results can be probably used even now. And of course I understand how much efforts and money were invested in this Project; I guess all this helps us to hold on.
  3. May be now I would like more, not experiment, but indeed to feel myself in Space. It should not be obligatory flight to Mars, but just real space flight.
  4. I had not such longing, as I`ve already answered similar question. I understand perfectly how much efforts and, of course, money were invested in implementation of this Project, I did not want to let people down, and of course, scientists which experiments we perform inside the facility as they believed in us when they made their choice.  
  5. I could not tell anything about spectacular events. Of course not every New Year I celebrate in complete isolation but it is difficult to say that I was impressed by some events very much. Of course the participation in such Project is probably the most impressive event.
  6. Yes, probably we have become good team. Because if we have not united and have not become a good team, the Project probably would not be successful. 
  7. It depends on what is meant by this word. As I’ve already told, we have become cohesive team, but as for friends we are not children and everyone had his own circle of friends which formed not for one year.  And it is too early to tell that we have become friends for such short period; we have become just a team.
  8. After the end of the experiment I would like to fly in real space, to see Earth in illuminator and indeed to feel myself as cosmonaut rather than subject. And then to find a job according to my specialization.
  9. Most of all I (as well as all crewmembers) miss my nearest and dearest, my home and of course nature.
  10. No
  11. As former practicing physician I was interested in all experiments that studied human physiology. And nobody liked psychological tests, I think.
  12. No.
  13. Mostly we use English mixed up with Russian.
  14. Sport and reading books.
  15. Yes, of course, I am very thankful to them for this.
  16. Explosion in airport Domodedovo. And technogenic explosion in Japan.
  17. Time will show.
  18. Probably it will come later, after our going-out. And when we will see the results of our experiment. May be when I will meet in common practice some medical equipment and schemes of examination which we used here then understanding of our participation in important historical event will come.

Romain Charles (flight engineer)

  1. Being confined for such a long time isn't easy and both our bodies and our minds are being challenged on the long term. However, as a crew, we stick together and we help each-other to successfully complete our mission.
  2. My 5 crewmates help me to bear with this long duration isolation study. We are on the same boat together. I also receive a lot of support through e-mails from my family, friends and from our ESA representative.
  3. For such a long duration isolation experiment, I would weight the pros and the cons but I can't really answer now. However, if the experiment was to go to Mars, I would accept without hesitation!
  4. Our mission is to stay in a confined environment for 520 days and I intend to make it successfully. I'm looking forward to going out but not before the appointed time.
  5. The most impressive episode for me this year was the opening of the Martian Lander. After 8 months of travel, it meant that we were reaching our goal: Mars. It was a great and exciting day for all of us.
  6. For the last 12 months we didn't have any conflict together. Our crew is as cohesive as when we entered the modules. I'm optimistic for the last 5 months left for us.
  7. After one year living so close together, I consider my 5 crewmates like friends.
  8. My first actions when I get out of the Mars 500 modules will be to eat good meals, to enjoy a good walk in a park and to meet with my family and friends.
  9. Right now I miss my family and friends. I can communicate quite easily with them but I'd like to have some direct interactions. It's always better to talk to someone directly and to have a immediate feedback than to write a letter and wait several days for the answer.
  10. I don't feel like flying to another planet but I find it hard to imagine our modules in the buildings where they actually are. My imagination put them in an remote area on Earth, not in the suburbs or Moscow.
  11. There is one experiment which lasts one day and a half that I don't like. During the day we have to spend a lot of time on the computer with a "stressing" program and during the night we have to sleep with a tight and uncomfortable cap to record an EEG. Luckily the frequency of this experiment is quite low.
    All the experiments focusing on our physiology are more interesting to me. I'm always curious to discover how my body is evolving on the inside. Moreover we use a wide range of medical devices for these experiments like ultra-sounds machines, Electro-Cardiograms or blood pressure measurement pieces of equipment. I like that.
  12. I don't know if we can call it a ritual but I always do the same things in the morning. From the moment when I wake up to the breakfast, I'm doing the same tasks at the same time almost everyday. I don't have any routine for the rest of the day.
  13. For the communication we use the 2 official languages: Russian and English. However I must admit that I use more English that Russian.
  14. During my free time I like to read books, to watch movies and to play some video games. I also spend a lot of time writing messages for my family and friends.
  15. Yes, I receive a lot of letter from all of them and they help me a lot to cope with the long term isolation. I wouldn't be so calm without them.
  16. We regularly receive some news from the world and from our native countries. If I had to pick one event, I would say that the most impressive one for me was the Japanese earthquake which happened 2 months ago. The videos that we could see were apocalyptic. Another event had quite a strong impact on us during our isolation. In August 2009, 33 Chilean miners were trapped in a mine and, even if their conditions were worse than ours, we could feel a link between our experiences.
  17. I believe that Humanity is a space faring species. Then its next step is to leave Earth and to visit new planets. All the experiments done in the ISS and here in the Mars 500 modules help to reach this goal. 
  18. I know that a lot of people are following our adventure and I thank them for all the kind words that they send to us regularly. I see my involvement in the Mars 500 mission like like  one stone on our way to Mars more than an important historical event. Nevertheless, I would be very happy if it turns our that our crew inspires people and push the real trip to Mars to happen quicker. 

Diego Urbina (researcher)

  1. It’s been difficult, but hopefully the toughest moments are behind. Currently we are very happy that everyone has done an amazing job and the mission has been a success so far.
  2. The support from my family, my friends and from people that encourage us through means like websites or twitter.
  3. If it was in real outer space this time, no doubt!
  4. There are many times when you wish you were in a nicer place, full of many people, maybe your friends, having a good time outdoors, but obviously the goal of the mission has been more important.
  5. The marswalks and the rover driving on the surface are pretty high on the list, they brought some adrenaline with them! Then maybe the power cut, it caught us by surprise, and in spite of the “risks” it brought us together and was something very different.
  6. Yeah I think we have always been one cohesive group, no senseless divisions or anything.
  7. I’d say so, I think it is inevitable!
  8. I kind of have this little thing for going and flying a small plane when I get out, other than that, just enjoy nature and travel.
  9. The blue sky and meeting new people.
  10. Personally when we were arriving to Mars it felt a lot like we were arriving there, to a new strange place, now coming back the sensation for me is less strong, but I am sure the closer we get the stronger sensation it will be, and when we get to Earth we will feel initially like it is another planet.
  11. I like the experiment in which we train on how to dock a Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS, the one in which we drive a rover on the martian surface, and I like a lot the experiments that involve exercise and moving a lot. I also enjoy doing pretty much any experiment in which the researcher actually takes the time to share the results with us and we learn new things.
    I don’t like is one that involves standing and holding this 25 kilo bag for several minutes, or when we have to put abrasive chemicals on the skin for the electrodes to conduct the signals. I hope the scientists will get a prize or something for those ones.
  12. Not really, I like to change the routine as much as I can. Maybe watching an episode of some series with the guys after a hard day’s work, we do that often.
  13. Mostly English but sometimes we try to practice some Russian phrases Russian here and there.
  14. I like reading a book with a cup of coffee or watching videos together. I also study for fun and to keep my mind working. These days I am also into playing often with flight simulators.
  15. Yes I couldn’t be here without their support!
  16. Well the miners were a big topic here, and more recently the Libyan crisis and the killing of Osama.
  17. There is a lot of good data and experience coming out of here, I think once it is analyzed and peer-reviewed it could give some important considerations to have in mind before sending people far from Earth, so I think that yes, this will benefit humanity.
  18. I just hope that our work shows that there is a lot of interest in this endeavor of going to Mars, so much that 6 people are willing to dedicate valuable time and effort to help make it possible. I am also sure it will show, through the support that the project gets, the willingness of people in general to go out and explore, so I think this can influence decision makers to do what it takes to take us there. If that happens, then it will be worth it.

Wang Yue (researcher)

  1. Well, I should say it is not so easy as I thought before.
  2. My crews, my family, my friends, and all the people supporting us.
  3. Maybe, but not immediately after this experiment.
  4. No idea. I have no thought to give up.
  5. Mars Landing.
  6. Sure, definitely sure.
  7. We were friends already when we did the training before the experiment beginning, I think.
  8. Free air, fresh food, et al...
  9. For me, I guess should be the food, my national food. You know every time before eating something, I should make a difficult thinking and complicated choice. Because of my stomach's protest.
  10. Sometimes have a feeling like this.
  11. Daily physical exercise, should be.
  12. Ritual? Maybe you means individual habit? I think practicing calligraphy is my special one. 
  13. English primary, sometimes Russian. I'm so sorry for my Russian learning progress. Romain does a huge job compared with me.
  14. Reading, game, calligraphy.
  15. Sure, and I miss them.
  16. The Chile Miner Affair. A vibe I felt when I knew this information first. God blessing them.
  17. I really hope so. If it is not, I'm confused why we are isolated here.
  18. I think we are doing a special and hard job. I don't know how to describe the historical or other big word things. I just believe this experiment is good for space research, for people. So we are doing now.
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