Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Mars Exploration News  


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















MARSDAILY
Mars 500: Landing On The Simulated Red Planet

The Mars 500 Crew at the halfway point.
by Staff Writers
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Feb 11, 2011
'Half-time' for Mars 500; on 12 February 2011, after a 250-day simulated flight to Mars, three crewmembers will land on the Red Planet. They will climb out of their isolation pod two days later at the Moscow Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) and begin a simulated exploration of Mars. Their eight-month return journey will commence in early March. "The 11 German experiments carried out so far have been completed with extreme professionalism and high accuracy," says Peter Graf from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), who is responsible for managing the German part of the project.

When the Russian Alexandr Smoleevsky, and the Italian Diego Urbina disembark from their landing module wearing their space suits On February 14, they will already have spent a long time in isolation. Their simulated journey to Mars began on 3 June 2010, as the hatch behind them closed, marking the start of the longest ever space simulation experiment. "All six crew members were in excellent physical condition," explains Peter Graf.

The 'spacecraft' that the six men from Russia, Europe and China are currently living in has an area of 550 square metres. The cosmonauts are not only following a strict schedule including precise experiments, maintenance work and fitness training, but their nutrition is also planned, right down to the last detail. Until 8 February 2011, German management was in charge of devising their diet- researcher Jens Titze and his team developed detailed nutrition plans for the first half of the mission. Until the end of the mission in November 2011, the crew's menu will be under Russian management, and will include astronaut food, as well as Russian and Korean products.

Longest-ever metabolism study
The German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium fur Wirtschaft und Technologie; BMWi) is supporting the 11 German experiments on the Mars 500 mission through DLR. Until now, the mission has been a great success for the researchers. The prolonged isolation of the crewmembers under controlled conditions and the daily monotony, but also the high performance pressure, create a unique set of conditions very beneficial for research.

"A reduction in salt intake led to a significant fall in blood pressure, even in the healthy volunteers," explains Jens Titze, from Erlangen-Nuremberg University. This shows that low sodium diets not only benefit those with kidney or blood pressure conditions but, in the long-term, could help prevent heart attacks, strokes and arteriosclerosis. Titze gradually reduced the daily salt intake of the 'cosmonauts' during the course of the world's longest metabolism study, while keeping all other nutrients unchanged.

The results obtained in the isolation experiments are expected to help in the reduction of blood pressure under more normal circumstances, as part of future clinical studies in which the Mars 500 menu will be implemented in everyday conditions. At the same time, scientists from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine are researching other areas, including the link between salt intake and bone metabolism, as well as the spread of microorganisms in an enclosed environment.

Influence on the immune system and the natural biological rhythm of humans
The Mars 500 project is also providing the researchers with information about the impact of stress on the human immune system: "The preliminary results from the study indicate a modulation and inhibition of certain cellular activities, very important to the immune response," says Alexander Chouker from the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. His research aims to provide a better understanding of the interaction between the brain and the immune system in responses to stress.

Stefan Schneider from the German Sports University in Cologne has been able to confirm the positive effects of sport in the Mars 500 volunteers. "There is a clear improvement in their cognitive performance." In addition, sport has also contributed to an increase in their level of self-assurance. The researchers' testing methods included the use of an iPod on board to evaluate the cosmonauts' cognitive performance.

Other initial results include those from the study of human circadian rhythms - that is, the biological and psychological processes in the body that follow a natural cycle, often the length of a day. Researchers had expected to see these rhythms compromised by factors such as reduced physical activity, being in a confined space or the change in the light-dark cycle, especially during long-term flights.

Initial measurements of core body temperature during isolation confirm this: "The preliminary results indicate that, although the circadian rhythm remains intact at first, the fluctuation of core body temperature substantially decreases," summarises Hanns-Christian Gunga from Charite Berlin.

The journey continues for the six cosmonauts; after three walks on the simulated surface of Mars, Aleksandr Smoleevsky, Diego Urbina and Wang Yue will return from the landing module back to the 'spaceship' on 27 February. The return flight will last another eight months, with the hatch to the outside world opening once again on 5 November 2011.



Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
DLR
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


MARSDAILY
Virtual Mars mission approaching 'landing'
Moscow (UPI) Feb 2, 2011
The first full-duration simulation of a manned voyage to Mars has reached virtual Mars after 244 days of virtual interplanetary flight, Russian officials said. Mars500, an international study of the psychological and technical issues involved in long spaceflights, has been running for more than eight months in hermetically sealed modules imitating a Mars spacecraft at the Institute of B ... read more







MARSDAILY
Astrobotic Technology Annouces Lunar Mission On SpaceX Falcon 9

LRO Could Have Given Apollo 14 Crew Another Majestic View

NASA's New Lander Prototype Skates Through Integration And Testing

Draper Commits One Million Dollars To Next Giant Leap's Moon Lander

MARSDAILY
Second Last Shuttle Launch Campaign Grinds On

NASA readies Discovery shuttle for launch

US space shuttle unharmed after tool accident

Dropped tool halts shuttle repair

MARSDAILY
Astro_Paolo And Views From Space

Cosmonauts To Perform 28th Russian Space Station Spacewalk

Azorean Station To Track Ariane Launch

International Partners Discuss ISS Operations

MARSDAILY
Venus probe may get 2nd chance soon

Japan probe shoots past Venus, may meet again in six years

Reflections - Personal and Planetary

Venus Holds Warning For Earth

MARSDAILY
Surprise Hidden In Titan's Smog: Cirrus-Like Clouds

Cassini Sends Back Postcards Of Saturn Moons

A Fizzy Ocean On Enceladus

Cassini To Probe Rhea For Clues To Saturn Rings

MARSDAILY
Satellites Locate Seized Italian Oil Tanker

Biogeochemistry At The Core Of Global Environmental Solutions

TerraSAR-X-Image Of The Month: Calving Icebergs On Queen Maud Land

TRMM Satellite Totaled Cyclone Yasi's Heavy Rainfall In Queensland

MARSDAILY
Lockheed Martin Ships Out First Orion Spacecraft

LightSail-1 On NASA Short List For Upcoming Launch

Rockets, doughnuts could face ax in US budget cuts

Astronaut's space tales aim to inspire

MARSDAILY
NASA Finds Earth-Size Planet Candidates In Habitable Zone

Las Cumbres Scientists Play Key Role In New Planetry System Discovery

A Six-Planet System

Earth-Size Planet Candidates Found In Habitable Zone


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement