Russia Tests 'Real World: Mars'

6 cosmonauts will spend 520 days in isolation on simulated journey
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2007 2:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – In a sort of extraterrestrial edition of MTV's "Real World," Russia will lock six would-be cosmonauts in a "spaceship" for 520 days in a simulated voyage to Mars. As Russian scientists test the effects of extended isolation, participants will spend 2 years growing their own vegetables, breathing "spaceship air," and drinking reprocessed urine, Der Spiegel reports.

Participants may leave the ship only after 280 days, in spacesuits, when the "ship" briefly "lands" on Mars. Cameras will record their every move. Scientists hope psychological screening ensures a smooth ride: A previous 6-month experiment flopped after drama drove one participant to quit and the team leader tried to kiss a female colleague, who began sleeping with a knife.