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520-day flight simulation nears 'landing' on Mars

MOSCOW — After 233 days in a locked steel capsule, six researchers on a 520-day mock flight to Mars are all feeling strong and ready to "land" on the Red Planet, the mission director said Friday.
The all-male crew of three Russians, a Chinese, a Frenchman and an Italian-Colombian has been inside windowless capsules at a Moscow research center since June. Their mission aims to help real space crews in the future cope with the confinement and stress of interplanetary travel.
The researchers communicate with the outside world via e-mails and video messages — occasionally delayed to give them the feel of being farther than a few yards (meters) away from mission control. The crew members eat canned food similar to that eaten on the International Space Station and shower only once a week.
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