Brussels, 08 Jan 2003
Berlin's Free University is to recruit 20 male volunteers to spend eight weeks in bed in order to simulate the effects of a space mission to Mars.
The chosen individuals will have to remain practically motionless for nearly 60 days to allow researchers to observe effects similar to those that would be experienced by astronauts during the two year, 110 million kilometre, roundtrip to Mars and back.
Each volunteer will receive 5,000 euro, and will have to undergo tests on blood circulation, muscular dystrophy and bone resistance to allow scientists to produce training programmes for a future manned expedition to Mars.
The only contact that participants will have with friends and family will be via the telephone, but they will have 24 hour access to a television.
The research programme will begin in February and is to be supervised by the Berlin Centre for Muscular Osteological Research in cooperation with the European Space Agency.