How to stay grounded on an 18-month 'mission to Mars'


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The Independent Online

Staying inside cramped, windowless modules for nearly a year-and-half was a tough challenge for an international crew of six simulating a Mars mission under 24-hour surveillance by scientists.

They said yesterday that they coped with the fatigue and stress of isolation with simple methods: doing exercises, reading books, social networking online – but above all keeping themselves busy with their work. The crew appeared energetic and joyful at their first news conference after leaving their modules last Friday. "I actually thought that it would be harder and more stressful for me," said the Russian team leader, Alexey Sitev, who got married just a few weeks before the start of the mission

Diego Urbina, an Italian-Colombian, said: "All the kids that want to go to Mars tell you so many nice things, and that gives you a lot of impulse to go on," he said.