‘Mars mission’ crew emerges smiling

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PALE, but smiling, an international crew of researchers emerged from the windowless modules which took them on a gruelling 520-day simulation of a flight to Mars.

The all-male crew of three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese suffered the same levels of confinement, stress and fatigue of interplanetary travel – minus the weightlessness – while having stayed at a research institute in Moscow.

Team leader Alexey Sitev reported to Russian space officials: “The mission is accomplished, the crew is in good health and is ready for new missions.” Psychologists said long confinement put the team members under stress, but they showed no sign of it. “We hope we can help in designing the future missions to Mars,” Frenchman Romain Charles said.

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