Manned missions to Mars pose problems - carrying enough fuel and supplies, shielding from cosmic radiation, and the way humans locked in a small box for two years tend to go totally crazy. Scientists are simulating space-psychosis by shutting six souls in a simulated shuttle for three months - which is odd, because scientists normally re-enact sci-fi plots, not horror movies. The project is a combined effort between the European Space Agency and Russian Academy of Science's Institute for Medical-Biological Problems, though it's not clear if the latter is trying to solve or create such problems.
The project is motivated by the desire for space travel, research into the paranoia and isolation, and fabulous cash prizes - any astronaut idol who survives 100 days wins $20,000. We feel the ESA missed a great chance for PR.
With all the recent work by space agencies to raise their profile in the public eye, especially in a world with people asking "Why should we spend money on this when nobody has any?" You literally don't need to add anything - the experiment will be full of cameras anyway, you've got volunteers from three different countries (Russian, Germany and France), you just need to connect it to the TV and it'll start making money. Also, elimination rounds and "voting people off" is a lot more interesting with spaceships and airlocks.
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