Russia's Institute of Medical and Biological Problems announced on Thursday the names of 11 volunteers on the shortlist to take part in a 520-day simulation of an expedition to Mars, a spokesman said.
The 11 candidates will complete basic spaceflight training and in spring six of them will be chosen to take part in the experiment, which will simulate all aspects of a journey to the Red Planet, with a 250-day outward trip, a 30-day stay on its surface, and a 240-day return flight.
The basic requirements for volunteers were that they be aged 25-50, have a higher education, and speak Russian and English.
During nearly two years of isolation, the crew members will experience many of the conditions likely to be encountered by astronauts on a real space flight, except for radiation and weightlessness.
The mission simulation is scheduled to begin in late April.
The shortlist includes five Russian engineers: 44-year-old Boris Yegorov, 30-year-old Andrei Zhirnov, 32-year-old Alexander Sukhov, 37-year-old Mikhail Sidelnikov and 38-year-old Alexei Sitev. Two Russian doctors, surgeon Sukhrob Kamolov, 32, and general practitioner Alexander Smolevsky, 33, were also chosen.
The foreign candidates are 34-year-old Archanmael Gaillard from France, Belgian Jerome Clevers, 30, Italian Diego Urbina, 27, and 27-year-old Wang Yue from China.
The institute has already held a 105-day experiment to simulate a flight to Mars, which ended last July. Six people - four Russians and two Europeans - spent over three months in a lab that simulated life on board a spaceship.
MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti)
If you think my 30- and 14-day simulated Mars missions were interesting, you should check out the Mars500 program, which is a collaboration between Russia and Europe to study the physiological and psychological issues associated with a long duration spaceflight mission to Mars. They had a 105-day mission with a crew last year and are narrowing down their crew selection for a 520-day mission. The latest press release is below. Note that one of the finalists Diego Urbina is a fellow ISU graduate and MDRS participant. He was on MDRS Crew 88 just prior to my mission there, so I got to meet him when I arrived at MDRS. Good luck to Diego and all of the other finalists!