Scientists begin 520-day Mars mission simulation

MOSCOW, Russia While the experiment, conducted jointly by Russia, China and the European Space Agency, will not involve weightlessness, it will try to tackle some of the psychological challenges of a real flight to Mars -- particularly the stress, claustrophobia and fatigue that a real space crew would face during interplanetary travel.

The six-member, all-male crew -- consisting of three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese -- expressed confidence that their mission would be a success.

Diego Urbina, the Italian-Colombian member, said the mission would mean "accomplishing dreams about the future, doing something that no human has done before."

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