Space Travel, Hold The Space

3 comments March 31st, 2009at 07:12am Posted by Eli

Wood Panel To Fake Mars

This is cool but strange:

On Tuesday, six people will be voluntarily locked into a cloister of cramped, hermetically sealed tubes woven inside a Moscow research facility the size of a high school gymnasium. They will eat dehydrated food, breathe recycled air and be denied conversation with practically everyone else but one another.

And they must stay inside for 105 days.

In a small step in the direction of Mars, the international crew is embarking on a simulated flight to the planet to test the limits of human tolerance for the isolation and monotony of interplanetary travel.

“It is really like a real space flight without the weightlessness and the danger to our lives,” said Sergei N. Ryazansky, a cosmonaut-in-training who will lead the mission. “On the inside, we will have a lack of incoming information, so it’s the science of sensory deprivation.”

Called Mars-500, the Russian-led project based at the Institute for Biomedical Problems here will culminate in a 520-day simulation beginning early next year of a complete manned mission to the planet — a time frame that incorporates launching to Mars touchdown and back — that scientists hope will edge humanity a little closer to that next giant leap.

It sounds a little crazy, but maintaining crew sanity for a year-and-a-half trip is at least as important and perhaps even as daunting as the engineering challenges of making such a trip technically  possible.

I just didn’t expect it to involve quite so much wood paneling.

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science,Weirdness


  • 1. ::matthew  |  March 31st, 2009 at 9:08 am

    In space, nobody can hear complain about that nasty wood paneling.
    Seems like one of those giant wall sized crossword puzzles would have been a better option.

  • 2. Ol'Froth  |  April 1st, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Maybe the actual spacecraft will be made of wood, to save money?

  • 3. Cujo359  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Wood’s a bit less good at conducting heat than metal, and people seem to prefer it in their homes. I’m sure wallboard was out.

    It’s also easier to pin things on wood.

    Still, it’s a bit of a mystery. The space station doesn’t have wooden walls.

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