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Team shows unity during first month of Mars flight simulation

RIA Novosti

03:32 15/07/2010 MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - Six participants in the Mars-500 simulation of a manned mission to the Red Planet demonstrated team spirit and unity during the first month of the project, a Russian scientific institute that conducts the experiment said.

The Moscow Institute of Medical and Biological Problems started the 520-day experiment on June 3. The project is due to simulate almost 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.

Despite the language barrier, "the participants formed a crew which effectively operates in conditions of confined space" and able to perform the scientific objectives of the mission, the institute's press service said in a statement.

"Almost all scientific tasks were implemented with huge interest and professionalism," the statement reads.

All crew members are reported to be in good physical condition.

"It is also important that the crew gets used to living in confined space," the institute said.

The "spacecraft's" crew, led by 38-year-old engineer Alexei Sitev, also includes Russian surgeon Sukhrob Kamolov, 32, and Russian general practitioner Alexander Smolevsky, 33. Foreign participants in the project are Italian Diego Urbina, 27, China's Wang Yue, 27, and 31-year-old Roman Charles from France.

During nearly two years of isolation, the crew members will experience many of the conditions likely to be encountered by astronauts on a real space flight, except for radiation and weightlessness. They will receive 3 million rubles ($100,000) after the experiment.

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