Phase 2 of Mars500 began in Moscow this morning, and people from around the world felt a chill of clausterphobia for the six men who will be locked in a fake spacecraft for the next 520 days.
The men are training for and researching the possibility of a European Space Agency mission to Mars. While locked inside the 19,500-square-foot box, they will remain completely isolated--and the door will only be open in the event of a serious injury, illness or ...er, mental breakdown.
The 18-month mission includes a simulated 250-day journey to Mars, 30 days of orbit and 240 days for returning to Earth. While the experiment is an interesting look at the technical aspects of a manned mission to Mars, it's the psychological side that will most likely engage people's attention. Days of inactivity, a finite food supply and close quarters? Let's hope it doesn't turn into a real-life Event Horizon.