Yesterday, Russia's first interplanetary mission in 15 years launched sucessfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It ran into serious problems almost immediately. In jeopardy are a sample return mission from the Martian satellite Phobos, The Planetary Society's Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE), and China's Yinghuo-1 Mars orbiter.
Mars-500, a simulated 520-day mission to Mars (previously and previously), will be completed today at 11:00 CET. Watch live
Russians are planning a trip to Mars, but first they want to better understand the psychological and practical issues involved with long, isolated human travel. So the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems will be locking volunteers into a small, closed system for ~500 days. The ESA is collaborating on the so-called Mars500 project. There is a current call out for volunteers which is open until the end of this month. [more inside]
"After all, women are fragile and delicate creatures; that is why men should lead the way to distant planets and carry women there in their strong hands," said Russian Academy of Sciences' Anatoly Grigoryev to students of the Moscow International University, by way of explaining why there will be NO WOMEN on the first flight to Mars. Ok, that sounds right. But they might at least need some swishy gay guy to wash socks and do dishes for the fellas, nyet? (Meanwhile, looks like Comrade Anatoly here is bucking for a job at Harvard.) (RIA link via NASA Watch).
No women on Mars. "Women are likely to be barred from any Russian mission to Mars because they would increase the "probability of conflicts" among the crew, says a Russian space official." We've come a long way, haven't we?