Feb. 14, 2011 Three crewmembers of the Mars500 virtual flight to Mars have 'landed' on their destination planet and two of them just took their first steps on the simulated martian terrain. The highlight of the Mars500 mission lasted for one hour and 12 minutes, starting at 13:00 Moscow time.
This Mars is housed in the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, on the next storey up the cylindrical modules housing the Mars500 crew. Six men have been already been isolated for more than eight months during the first full-duration simulated flight to Mars. Three of the crew, Russian Alexandr Smoleevskiy, Italian Diego Urbina and Chinese Wang Yue, entered the lander on 8 February and they landed on Mars four days later.
After this first sortie, they will venture twice more onto the surface simulator wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits.
Europe has for centuries explored Earth, led by people like Columbus and Magellan, said Diego at the beginning of his three-hour Marswalk with Alexandr. Today, looking at this red landscape, I can feel how inspiring it will be to look through the eyes of the first human to step foot on Mars. I salute all the explorers of tomorrow and wish them godspeed.
The next sortie, by Alexandr and Yue, will be on 18 February, followed by the last, again by Alexandr and Diego, on 22 February.
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