Melbourne: Three men will simulate walking on Mars in February as part of a project in which a multinational crew has been locked up inside a mock Moscow spaceship since June.
The team of six participants will “land” on the Red Planet on February 12 after spending more than eight months in isolation in the module, which was built at Moscow`s Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP).
"The spaceship will reach the orbit of Mars on February 1, the landing is planned for February 12, and three “Mars walks” will occur between February 14 and 22," a website quoted Boris Morukov, who heads the Mars-500 project, as telling an international news agency.
The team of six, which includes three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian, and a Chinese, are in good health, he said.
"Some have become physically stronger due to regular exercise," said Morukov.
The spaceship will simulate one month on Mars during which time three crew members will attempt walks-a Russian cosmonaut, a European Space Agency astronaut, and Wang Yue, the volunteer from the Astronaut Centre of China.
The crew will not emerge from the hatch until November, after their spaceship ``returns`` to Earth. Until then, it will only reopen if one of the team pulls out-he will be deemed dead and his "body" pushed out to space.