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The experimental Mars 500 crew has now spent over 100 days isolated in a simulated space craft. Scientists have been watching them closely to test what it would be like to travel to the Red Planet.
As well as going without outside contact, the crew has also been denied female company. Others too, like submariners or polar explorers have to spend long periods with only males. Psychologists here are taking the opportunity to see what effects it may have.
Much research work is being done onboard, which keeps the crew focused and motivated. Progress maps are updated daily, and there is an artificial time delay of up to twenty minutes for all outside communications to account for the distance from Earth.
For another 418 days the staff here will monitor the crew through the CCTV cameras 24 hours a day, every day. If problems do occur, they are supposed to be most likely after approximately nine months, but for now it’s so far, so good.
As well as going without outside contact, the crew has also been denied female company.