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Mars 500 experiment to start in March 2010

world Updated: Jul 22, 2009 14:34 IST

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Mars 500 experiment are likely to start by March 2010, Mars 500 Project Director Boris Morukov told Itar-Tass. "This is the most optimistic forecast, as we need to resolve many organizational problems," he noted.

Mars 105 experiment, which ended last Monday, did not model works on the Martian surface and dynamic operations. "Besides, it is necessary to train the supervisory group and the volunteers," Morukov said.

"The next expedition will be longer and more autonomous," Igor Ushakov, Director, Institute of Medical and Biological Problems said.

The selection criteria for the volunteers is also expected to be stricter.

"The experiment, which will last for 520 days, will model various kinds of emergency situations, and that will keep the crew tense," Ushakov said.

The six volunteers will be selected no earlier than this October. The makeup of the new crew may seriously differ from the one that took part in the Mars 105 experiment, he said.

Astronauts Sergei Ryazansky and Oleg Artemyev, members of the Mars 105 crew, will continue their training at Zvezdny Gorodok, while physician Alexei Baranov will continue his hospital career.