Oliver Knickel, one of four final candidates selected to participate in the 105-day Mars500 study.
On 11 December 2008, the final four Europeans who are set to take part in a simulated Mars mission were presented to the media at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France.
After completing a two-month period of training for their mission, two of the group will be chosen as prime crew to join four Russian-selected crewmembers inside the specially designed isolation facility in Moscow. For 105 days, as part of a cooperative project between ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight and the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP), the six-strong crew will live, eat, sleep and work in the recently refurbished facility. During this time they will experience elements of a simulated Mars mission.
Their stay is in preparation for the full Mars500 study due to start later in 2009, which will see another six-member crew sealed in the chamber to experience a complete 520-day Mars mission. The purpose of the Mars500 study is to gather data, knowledge and experience to help prepare one day for a real mission to Mars.