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Mission To Mars

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... Mars 500 - Human Spaceflight Mission To The Red Planet

Human exploration of our Solar System is an important focus for ESA. The European Space Agency has started on the path to making this a reality in the future. Making sure that our astronauts are prepared mentally and physically for the demands of long exploration missions is imperative a mission's success. In light of this, ESA is undertaking a cooperative project with the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow, called Mars500.

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ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight has a long tradition of conducting research on the physiological and psychological aspects of spaceflight. ESA's bedrest studies, in particular, are at the forefront of scientific research to understand how the human body reacts under weightless conditions, in order to devise effective countermeasures and enable humans to undertake long missions in space effectively. Mars500 is part of these scientific efforts to prepare for human exploration missions.

When preparing for long space missions beyond the six-month range currently undertaken by Expedition crews on the International Space Station (ISS), medical and psychological aspects become an issue of major importance.

When contemplating missions beyond Low Earth Orbit, such as to the Moon and Mars, daily crew life and operational capabilities may be affected by the hazardous space environment, the need for full autonomy and resourcefulness, the isolation, the interaction with fellow crewmembers and other aspects.

A better understanding of these aspects is essential for development of the elements necessary for an exploration mission. Whereas research onboard the ISS is essential for answering questions concerning the possible impact of weightlessness, radiation and other space-specific factors, other aspects such as the effect of long-term isolation and confinement can be more appropriately addressed via ground-based simulations.

The purpose of the Mars500 study is to gather data, knowledge and experience to help prepare for a real mission to Mars. Obviously there will be no effect of weightlessness, but the study will help to determine key psychological and physiological effects of being in such an enclosed environment for such an extended period of time.

The participants act as subjects in scientific investigations to assess the effect that isolation has on various psychological and physiological aspects, such as stress, hormone regulation and immunity, sleep quality, mood and the effectiveness of dietary supplements.

The knowledge gained during the study is invaluable in providing the basis for the potential development of countermeasures to deal with any unwanted side effects of such a mission, and also to help in astronaut selection procedures, and at a modest expense.

On the European side, the Mars500 programme is financed from the European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences in Space (ELIPS) and involves scientists from across Europe.

ドキュメンタリー - Documentary
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