Saturday, March 28, 2009

Getting Away for a While

Remember the Twilight Zone episode that dramatized a test of a man's reaction to the isolation that would be involved in a long space flight? The real thing is about to be tried.

After a news conference and with cameras flashing they will walk to a collection of linked cylindrical containers inside a dreary building in Moscow, open the heavy hatch and disappear inside. All in the name of an unprecedented experiment called Mars 500 which has been talked about for many years and is now finally happening.

Luxury is not involved.

There were a few home comforts, including a large flatscreen TV, a plastic kettle and an empty fridge. But overall it was cramped, airless and without windows. The sleeping quarters are particularly small and apparently not well sound-proofed.

This 3-month test is just a baby.

And if all goes well with this experiment, then early next year another "crew" will be locked inside for a total of 520 days.