The habitable module had six compartments each for every crew member; a kitchen, living, dining and toilet areas and a control room. The individual compartments measured thirty-two square feet (32 sq ft) with a bed, desk, chair and shelves for placing personal items. There was also a medical module for isolation and treatment of sick crew members. A Mars landing simulator and storage module were also present in the facility. The utility module consisted of a gym, refrigeration unit and greenhouses where they grew food (Lepisto, 2011). After takeoff, the crew members were kept busy by the challenges of being isolated.
During the first few weeks of isolation, the crew conducted a simulation of staying in a space station closer to the earth’s orbit. After their stay in the space station, they would embark on approaching planet Mars. The major difference between a journey to planet Mars and being closer to planet Earth is signal delay and the chance of receiving new supplies. The International Space Station can be reached within forty-eight hours from the earth’s surface. It is the last opportunity for crew members to obtain new resources and supplies.
After this, the spacecraft will travel further into deep space where getting new supplies is impossible. Further distance also relates to signal delays where messages require twenty minutes to reach its destination. The only way the six crew members could send messages was using a webcam to record video messages that they later sent to the respondents (European Space Agency, 2009). Orbit around Mars and Landing The men aboard the locked steel capsule communicated with outsiders through video messages and emails.
The messages were being delayed to create the feel of being further away from earth even though they were a couple of yards from the control room. They ate canned food similar to the foodstuffs found on the international space station and showered once every week. After two hundred and forty days of virtual interplanetary flight, the Mars 500 arrived on Mars. The final approach that was started on 24th December 2011 began by shifting the modules trajectory from interplanetary space into a spiral orbit straight down the Martian surface.
Crew members opened the hatch between the Lander which was separately launched to Mars and the mother ship. The crew would later transfer the cargo inside the Lander to the habitat and afterward prepare the Lander for undocking and landing (Marsdaily. com, 2011). They would then divide themselves into two groups with one group entering the Lander while the remaining stayed in orbit.
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