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NASA and Russian Institute Will Carry Out Space Simulation Experiments Together

Nov. 10, 2017 (EIRNS)—Space cooperation between the Russian space program and NASA is being broadened to encompass a joint mission called SIRIUS-17 (Scientific International Research in a Unique terrestrial Station), which will make use of a ground-based Russian facility that is designed as an analog for a space mission, NASA announced Nov. 7. Many Earth environments (Antarctica, Chile’s Atacama desert), as well as ground-based facilities, are used as analogs to test both equipment and social interactions for future space exploration missions. NASA is associated with at least 15 different analog environments. This mission will take place in the Ground-based Experimental Complex at the Institute for Bio-Medical Problems in Moscow (IBMP). The IBMP is the world-famous Institute that has done studies on the medical and psychological effects of space flight since 1957.

This mission is designated "17" because it is taking place this year, and the duration will be 17 days. The time span represents a possible manned mission to the Moon, with a brief stay and then return. On Nov. 7, six participants entered the isolation facility, which is a mock-spacecraft habitat. The "crew" will be carrying out more than 40 experiments during their mission. Participating with Russia’s IBMP scientists and NASA’s Human Research Program scientists, are scientific "investigators from Germany, Italy, and other countries," according to the IBMP.

The OBMP facility was chosen, said Lisa Spence from NASA, because it is a dedicated facility, meaning these isolation experiments are its only purpose. "Also, they have done successful long-duration isolation missions at the IBMP facility in the past, even up to 520 days," said Spence. The longest experiments are designed to simulate missions to Mars. The plan is to conduct at least three follow-on missions, for four months next year, an eight month mission in 2019, and a 12-month mission in 2020.

This is the first time NASA has partnered with the Institute for joint experiments in its Ground-based Experimental Complex.