back to article Wooden Mars ark voyagers set to step out on Earth

A group of six men who have spent the past 17 months sealed up inside a spaceship simulator near Moscow - in order to investigate the problems which might arise on a mission to Mars - are about to regain their liberty. Diego Urbina relaxing in the Mars500 facility. Credit: ESA Life aboard the wooden space ark. The denizens …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wooden spaceship

    If they're going to make it out of wood, at least have the decency to paint it blue and stick a flashing light on top.

    1. Scott Earle
      Thumb Up

      Maybe they did. On the smaller *outside* ...

  2. Graham Bartlett

    There's got to be a joke somewhere

    ...about what you do if you get wood in a spaceship? Now all we need to do is think of a punchline.

    (Can't use "Go for re-entry" - the Bond team got that one already.)

    1. Tasogare

      That makes me wonder if NASA has guidelines for arranging private masturbation time on long space trips. If those people really went that long without an orgasm and didn't go insane, they are clearly a higher form of life.

      1. laird cummings

        Saltpeter in the space rations, p'raps?

  3. Def Silver badge

    In other news

    Geeks ordering groceries online struggle with slow Internet connections Saturday night.

    Who says it's not Friday?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold on... the feck did C4 miss this programming goldmine. They could of replaced Big Brother AND Friends with equally banal and mundane shite.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      the diary room segments would be a bit dull with all that lag (but perhaps improved for it)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wasn't that called Space Cadets? OK, that might have been C5.

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    It might work psychologically

    but what about radiation issues?

    Besides, the stresses involved are way higher on the real trip, because the chances of anything going wrong are higher in a real ship, and the chances of anyone from outside being able to help if something goes wrong are effectively zero.

    Still good that someone is still working on manned missions.

    1. laird cummings

      Give 'em a break - they're doing this on a shoestring.

      Considering the challenges, I have to say 'well done.'

  6. defiler Silver badge

    A funny thing happened on the way to Mars

    What happens if they burn up on re-entry?

  7. jubtastic1

    If all they tested was the psychological effects

    Then that was a colossal waste of time and money, because that test environment is literally 250miles away from the kind of instant death scenarios the real ship's crew will operate under and the test subjects would have been well aware of that fact.

    You might as well argue that people are psychologically prepared for living on a 1m squared platform at the top of a 20m pole because your test subject survived balancing on a pallet for a month.

    Pop a crew in a submersible and drop them down the Mariana trench and I'll bet a few heads get broken long before 5 months go by.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Men wanted for hazardous journey."

      Maybe its risky etc, zero grav, but YOU GET TO VISIT MARS. I dunno about you, but I would take the chance...

  8. Sir Barry

    17 month trial?

    Can my missus join the next test crew?

  9. Mips

    Really scary.

    Looking at the photograph, did they actually spend 520 days in a launderette?

  10. Mips

    520 days

    Maybe, but it is a lot easier when you have gravity.

  11. Johnny Canuck


    Must have a nice chunk of cash waiting for them at the end of the sim.

  12. Chris Glen-smith

    Jubtastic - excellent name!

    Indeed, no way they can test the psychological stress of knowing that if anything goes wrong you are dead, or that the cosic rays are making you sterile or giving you cancer.

    Flying a real mission - expensive. Knowing that there are people nearby and that they will let you out in an emergency - priceless.

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