by Staff Writers
London (UPI) May 7, 2012
European scientists said they'll undergo four months of freezing darkness and isolation in Antarctica in preparation for a possible manned trip to Mars.
The experiment is part of a European Space Agency mission conducting scientific investigations into the affects and requirements of such a trip.
The team of British, French and Italian scientists will test the limit of human endurance by remaining on the Concordia Research Station, high on a plateau of Antarctica, for eight months, Britain's The Independent reported.
"We're away from friends, family, McDonald's Happy Meals and life as you know it," team member Alexander Kumar, a British emergency room physician, said in an interview via satellite phone. "It really is like living life on Planet Concordia. We suffer from low oxygen levels as well as isolation."
The extreme conditions are said to be the closest human beings have come to living on another planet.
"We're about to enter into the harshest winter the world has to offer," Kumar said. "It's an Antarctic winter and temperatures will drop below minus 80C (minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit) -- not that it makes that much difference below minus 20C for me.
"On top of that, we have four months of complete darkness."
Kumar said he's certain the hardships will be more than worth it if the research paves the way to sending people to Mars.
"More important is that we've shown that humans can live in such extreme environments," he said. "I hope this shows we can make it to Mars one day."
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People to Land on Mars in Next 40 Years
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Apr 24, 2012
The world may see a manned spaceflight to Mars in the first half of this century, a prominent Russian academic said on Monday. "I think [a manned trip to Mars] will take place in the first half of the current century," Anatoly Grigoryev, the deputy head of Russia's Academy of Sciences, told a news conference in Moscow dedicated to the findings of a simulated mission to the Red Planet concl ... read more
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