Russian scientists are selecting volunteers to be locked in a capsule for 500 days to test plans for a trip to Mars. The mock mission is designed to simulate the tough conditions of a space trip to the Red Planet. A team of six men will be physically cut off from the outside world to test equipment intended to make them self-sufficient for long periods. Their capsule will consist of a bedroom, a kitchen and a laboratory. The capsule's own equipment should make all of the oxygen they need, repeatedly recycle three tonnes of water and grow some food to add to five tonnes of supplies packed inside. The experiment, to be based in Moscow, tests a plan to make long-range space travel and settlements possible. But such a real Mars mission is not going to happen any time soon. Scientists only have two of their six volunteers so far and will not begin the mock-up mission until some time in 2006.
Six people locked in a capsule for nearly two years? I hope they come out friends.