A 520-day simulated voyage to Mars has ended in Moscow and the six participating crew members are beginning their transition back to everyday life.
The Mars 500 experiment was designed to study the psychological impact of isolation that would be encountered on a future manned trip to Mars.
The six male crew members from Russia, Europe and China spent almost 18 months inside a module that replicated the dimensions of a long range space craft.
They were monitored nearly 24 hours a day, underwent daily health checks and communications with mission control were delayed up to 20 minutes to replicate conditions in deep space.
The crew showed no ill effects after emerging from the capsule where they had lived and slept, but were clearly delighted they completed their earth-bound “journey” to the Red Planet.
A researcher broke the seal and then opened the door of the capsule and all six crew members, dressed in blue overalls, walked out one-by-one to cheers from scientists and family who had gathered.
“The international crew has completed the 520-day mission,” commander Alexei Sityov, one of three Russian participants in the experiment, told Russia’s space bosses in formal military style after exiting the capsule.