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Friday, March 23, 2012

Mars 500 Mission Simulation Considered for ISS

International Space Station partners are considering the orbiting outpost to simulate a 500-day astronaut-cosmonaut deep space mission to Mars in 2015 patterned after the patterned after Moscow-based Mars 500 simulated flight conducted at a research center last year. The mission would be designed to study human factors, technology and delayed communications, according to NASA. No decision on a mission profile has yet been made.

A five hundred day human Mars mission is more than 16-months in space going to and from the Red Planet. The human endurance record of 14 months in space was set by a Russian cosmonaut aboard the Mir space station in the mid-1990s. Only two others - both Russians - have spent as long as a full year in space. No NASA astronaut has spent more than seven months in space on a single mission.

Physical as well as psychological questions will have to be addressed before anything of that sort is attempted by multiple space agencies prior to undertaking such a simulated mission at the International Space Station. There is at least a significant probablity that the space agencies will agree to simulate the first leg of a Mars deep space trek with 9-month stays at the orbiting space station. More from MSNBC.

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