Mars 500 Mission
The purpose of the Mars500 study is to gather data, knowledge and experience to help prepare for a real mission to Mars. Obviously there will be no effect of weightlessness, but the study will help to determine key psychological and physiological effects of being in such an enclosed environment for such an extended period of time. The participants act as subjects in scientific investigations to assess the effect that isolation has on various psychological and physiological aspects, such as stress, hormone regulation and immunity, sleep quality, mood and the effectiveness of dietary supplements. The knowledge gained during the study is invaluable in providing the basis for the potential development of countermeasures to deal with any unwanted side effects of such a mission, and also to help in astronaut selection procedures, and at a modest expense.
You can read more about the experiment by following the links on the bottom of the page.
Institute of Bio-Medical Problems
European Space Agency
Czech Information Site
Unofficial Russian Blog