To Mars and Back…Sorta

The crew of the Mars500 simulation emerged today in Moscow from 520 days of isolation that began June 3, 2010.

Shortly after ‘landing’

The primary purpose of this simulation was to evaluate a variety of physical and mental impacts of a long-duration space exploration mission, such as the 500+ day journey that a crew would have to withstand for a round-trip mission to Mars.  Study elements included issues related to an actual mission, such as communication delays and a simulated schedule:

During the isolation period, the candidates have been simulating all elements of the Mars mission, traveling to Mars, orbiting the planet, landing and return to Earth.

Of course, not all elements; some things are difficult or impossible to simulate, such as weightlessness or cosmic radiation.  But it is interesting to note ESA chose to exclude one obvious factor that we included in the early exploration missions of In the Shadow of Ares.  Apparently ESA doesn’t believe that women should be included in a mission to Mars.