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Mars 500: Training Astronauts for a Manned Mission to Mars

What happens when you put five astronauts in a small ship for 500 days and fly them to Mars? This is the fourth part in an eight-part series on...

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What happens when you put five astronauts in a small ship for 500 days and fly them to Mars?
This is the fourth part in an eight-part series on the future of transportation. New articles published every Monday.

Yet those extremes pale against Mars 500, a test that will begin in the middle of this year in Moscow, inside a warehouse on the campus of the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems. There, a crew of seven men will lock themselves inside a series of rooms no bigger than a tiny house for 520 days-the approximate amount of time a return trip to Mars would take, with a 30-day layover on the planet. If they last, each crew member will get a bounty, possibly upwards of $100,000. What are we hoping to learn from this exercise? And, really, why would anyone want to do that?

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