MOSCOW, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russian and foreign volunteers said on Tuesday they felt well after a 105-day experiment to simulate a flight to Mars at the Institute of Medical and Biological Studies in Moscow.
Four Russians - astronauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergei Ryazansky, oncologist Alexei Baranov, and sports physiologist Alexei Shpakov - along with two members of the European Space Agency, French civilian pilot Cyrille Fournier and German mechanical engineer Oliver Knickel, spent over three months in a lab that simulated life on board a spaceship.
Each participant was paid 15,500 euros ($20,000) and underwent a variety of physical, psychological and professional tests during the mission. The scientists also tested various life-support, communications and scientific equipment.
After leaving the compound, where they have been in total isolation since March 30, the volunteers formed a single file and reported a successful completion of the mission, saying they were in "perfect physical shape."
For the next two weeks they will visit the institute every two days for medical tests, a source at the institute said.
The 105-day trial was a continuation of a 14-day experiment on November 2007, and precedes the main event, a 520-day simulation flight due to start in late 2009-early 2010.
The future 520-day experiment will simulate all aspects of a journey to the Red Planet, with a 250-day outward trip, a 30-day stay on its surface, and a 240-day return flight.
During nearly two years of isolation, crew members will experience many of the conditions likely to be encountered by astronauts on a real space flight.
They will stick to a rigid daily regime of work, rest and exercise, and follow the same diet as crews aboard the International Space Station.
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News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.