As you may recall, my MDRS-88 crewmate Diego Urbina was selected to participate in the Mars-500 project, a full 520-day simulated voyage to Mars and back. He and five other guys have been locked in a tin can in Moscow for 250 days now, and their simulated spacecraft is now in simulated orbit around simulated Mars. They have just docked with the landing module, which was sent ahead and has been waiting for them in Martian orbit full of supplies they will use on the long trip back. In a few days, Diego and two of his crewmates will undock and descend to the Martian surface for ten days of Mars exploration.
I've been following Diego on Twitter and the following series of tweets was just so lovely I had to share it:
still moving stuff to the martian module, getting ready to start the hard orthostatic intollerance test
it simulates what happens when you transition from 0g to martian gravity
last night was the last one in the orbital module, tonight I'll start sleeping with head down @ 12 deg
and wearing in the day pants that confine blood to the upper body, 3 days later I remove the pants and see what funky things happen
oh but let me tell you more about an orthostatic intollerance test in the words of the expert in charge:
"Orthostatic test can be accompanied by deterioration of state of health, occurrence of weakness, dizziness..."
"...a short breath, a nausea, sweating and, as a last resort, development of an unconscious condition"
people in the street just call it "falling in love"
Also, here's a cool five-minute video from the ESA about Mars-500 and its current status.