Media opportunity: crew completes 105-day simulated Mars mission 14 July

The six Mars500 crewmembers will leave the isolation facility on 14 July
19 June 2009

Article updated with programme
ESA PR 16-2009. On 14 July, a crew of six will leave their Mars mission simulator and see the Sun once again. The crew, which includes a French pilot and a German engineer selected by ESA, will have completed 105 days of confinement and numerous scientific experiment runs inside the isolation facility at the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow.

Their simulated mission will help understand the psychological and medical aspects of long-duration spaceflight.

Media representatives are invited to meet the crew just after they have opened the door and stepped out of the isolation facility. There will be opportunities for the media to film and take photos of the facility, interview the six participants and project management and meet the Russian and European space authorities, including ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight Simonetta Di Pippo. A detailed programme will be published at the beginning of July.

Cyrille works on an experiment
Cyrille Fournier conducts one of many experiments inside the module

The crew includes two European members selected by ESA: Oliver Knickel, a mechanical engineer in the German army, and Cyrille Fournier, an airline pilot from France. The remaining four are Russians: cosmonauts Sergei Ryazansky (commander) and Oleg Artemyev, Alexei Baranov, a medical doctor, and Alexei Shpakov, a sports physiologist.

They have been living in the specially designed isolation facility in Moscow since 31 March. Inside, they have been put through a range of scenarios as if they really were travelling to the Red Planet – including launch, the outward journey, arrival, transfer to and from the Martian surface and finally the long journey home.

Their tasks have been similar to those they would have on a real space mission. They have had to deal with simulated emergencies and cope with an operative communication delay of up to 20 minutes each way.

The participants have been subjected to scientific experiments to assess the effects of isolation on various psychological and physiological parameters. The experiments conducted were proposed by research institutes in countries throughout Europe, including Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands, as well as in Russia and the United States.

Oliver is ready for the 'Pilot' experiment
Oliver Knickel prepares to collect data for an experiment

This initial 105-day study is the precursor to a complete simulation of a fully-fledged mission to Mars and back due to start in early 2010. That exercise will see another six-member crew sealed in the same chamber to experience a complete 520-day Mars mission. Both studies are part of the Mars500 programme that is being conducted by ESA and its Russian partner IBMP. ESA’s Directorate of Human Spaceflight is undertaking Mars500 as part of its European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences (ELIPS) to prepare for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

Media representatives wishing to attend this event on 14 July are kindly requested to fill in the attached accreditation form (linked from the rightmenu) and return it by fax or e-mail to the ESA Headquarters Media Relations Office by 3 July.

For more information:

Markus Bauer
Human Spaceflight Communication Programme Officer
ESA Communication and Knowledge Department
Tel: + 31 71 565 6799
E-mail: markus.bauer@esa.int

Elena Feichtinger
Mars500 Deputy Project Manager
Tel: +7 4957681045
E-mail: elena.feichtinger@esa.int

Programme

Mars500 Media Day

On the occasion of the end of the
105-days Mars mission simulation

Institute of Biomedical Problems Moscow (IBMP)
76-a Khoroshevskoye shosse, Moscow.

14 July 2009

13.00 Registration of Media at IBMP

14.00 Door of simulator opens

Crew is welcomed by Mr Anatoly Ivanovich Grigoriev (IBMP), Mr Igor Borosovich Ushakov (IBMP), Mrs Simonetta Di Pippo (ESA) and Mr Johann-Dietrich Wörner (DLR).

Photo and Video opportunity for Media

14.20 Transfer to Press Conference Room

14.30 Press conference

Anatoly Ivanovich Grigoriev, Vice President of Russian Academy of Science
N.N, Roskosmos
Igor Borosovich Ushakov, Head of IBMP
Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of Human Spaceflight, European Space Agency (ESA)
Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Igor Savelev, NSBRI

Questions and Answers

15.30

Boris Vladimirovich Morukov, Director of Mars500 programme

Mars500 crewmembers

Sergei Ryazansky
Oleg Artemyez
Alexei Baranov
Alexei Shpakov
Cyrille Fournier
Oliver Knickel

Questions and Answers

16.30 Possibility for individual interviews

With Mars500 participants and representatives of participating space agencies.

17.30 End of programme

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