After105 days in a human-sized hamster Habitrail, four Russians, a Frenchman and a German (walk into a bar) announced it was no big deal to be cooped up for so long without access to updates on Paris Hilton. Heck, these guys might not even know yet that The King of Pop has died.
While they were monitored constantly to help us better understand the impact the cramped conditions had on them, they were also kept very busy.
A monotonous regime was applied to us, every minute was full of work. There were some periods in which we could relax, but you cannot really relax, you think about being far from your loved ones, far from your family.
The delay in communications for actual astronauts meant the volunteers also had to problem solve for themselves and make decisions without the help of ground control. And because they knew how important the mission was, they didn’t fall apart bickering with each other. It’s not like the Russian space program pulled five guys off a bus and told ‘em to stick it out for 3 months, either.
One significant stress absent from the simulated ride to Mars, however? The crew knew they could leave if there was an emergency.
This unfortunately wasn’t the case for the Apollo 1 astronauts working on putting a man on the Moon. Read more →