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Mars500 simulated mission 'lands' on Red Planet

RIA Novosti

13:18 12/02/2011

MOSCOW, February 12 (RIA Novosti) - The crew of the Mars500 stimulated mission on Saturday landed on the "surface" of the Red Planet.

The six-man multinational crew has been sealed since June inside a mocked-up spaceship without sun or fresh water.

"The stimulated touchdown was successfully completed at noon Moscow time [15:00 GMT]," said a spokesman for Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems that runs the project with the participation of the European Space Agency (Esa).

On February 14, three of the group - Alexander Smoliyevsky, Diego Urbina and Wang Yue - will descend onto the planet, don spacesuits and walk on its "surface," which in reality will be the sandy floor inside a large hangar in Moscow.

After 30 days working on the Red Planet, the crew will then embark on a 240-day return trip to Earth.

The 520-day Mars500 project is designed to investigate how humans cope with psychological and physiological stress on a lengthy spaceflight.

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