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Science & Exploration

N° 27–2011: Call for media: Mars500, welcome back to Earth

10 October 2011

Since June last year, the six crewmembers of a simulated mission to Mars have been isolated in a special facility near Moscow. They will ‘arrive back on Earth’ on 4 November and go into quarantine for four days for medical checks. Media are invited to meet the crew at a press conference on 8 November in Moscow.


Mars500 is the first full-duration simulation of a human mission to Mars, in a space infrastructure mock-up faithfully replicating almost all aspects of real spaceflight – except for weightlessness, radiation and actual interplanetary spaceflight.

During the almost 1.5-year duration, the international crew comprising two Europeans, three Russians and one Chinese have ‘flown’ to Mars, ‘landed’ on their destination planet and made several spacewalks on the look-a-like martian terrain. They have been faced with monotony, delayed communications and complete lack of daylight in their windowless habitat.

The crew consists of ESA-selected Diego Urbina (Italian/Colombian) and Romain Charles (French); Sukhrob Kamolov, Alexei Sitev and Alexandr Smoleevski from Russia; and Wang Yue from China.

Authentic human endeavour

Before humankind will be able to travel beyond low Earth orbit in the not-too-distant future, many challenges have to be met and technical problems have to be solved.

Apart from challenging vehicle technology, one of the biggest unknowns is human behaviour, and how interactions between the crewmembers are affected during a long stay in a confined space and under stress. This was the main focus of the Mars500 experiment.

The crew has been conducting dozens of experiments, producing data that help scientists, engineers and operators to evaluate what the space travellers of the future will go through.

During the period, the crew performed as a unified and stable team. There were no significant conflicts, and the difficult 'journey' was completed as a real crew would conduct a live mission to Mars.

ESA is inviting together with Roscosmos and Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) members of media to a press conference with the crew and to meet scientists responsible for the experiment.

Accreditation for the press conference is obligatory. The deadline is 20 October. Please note the Russian visa regulations if coming from other countries. For accreditation, please enter name, media affiliation, Russian visa number, passport number and contact information at


8 November 2011


11:00 registration of media

12:00 press conference starts

Detailed programme will be provided on 17 October


Will be announced 17 October

For more information, please contact:

Rosita Suenson

Communication Programme Officer for Human Spaceflight

Tel: +31 71 565 3009



For further information:

ESA - Media Relations Office

Tel: +33.(0)1.5369.7299

Fax: +33.(0)1.5369.7690