The objective of this international cooperation project is to study problems related to human behavior in a confined space, including biological and psychological ones.
On Thursday, Russia's Institute of Medical and Biological Problems (IMBP) began a new phase of the Scientific International Research In Unique Terrestrial Station (SIRIUS), a project which will simulate a round trip to the Moon with six volunteers.
"Let the isolation experiment begin," the SIRIUS Co-Director Sergei Ponomarev ordered and explained that the volunteers will be locked up for eight months in a special module at the Institute's facilities in Moscow.
The crew will include instructor Oleg Blinov, surgeon Viktoria Kirichenko, researcher Ekaterina Kariakina, U.S. linguist William Brown, and U.S. Armed Forces Space Command representative Ashley Kowalski, and Arab Emirates cosmonaut Saleh Omar Al Ameri.
During the next 240 days, these volunteers will simulate a lunar mission which includes the takeoff, the realization of orbits around the Moon, the detection of a suitable place for the lunar landing, the disembarkation, and the return to earth.
During this simulation experiment, the participants, who will use special helmets that create virtual reality, will have to take a moonwalk, take samples from the surface, and drive a lunar vehicle.
SIRIUS-21 is an international cooperation project that began in 2017 and involves the IMBP, the NASA Human Research Program, and the space agencies of Russia, Germany, and France. Its objective is "to study problems related to human behavior in a confined space, including biological and psychological ones," as TASS reported.
The start of this simulation was delayed from June due to the pandemic. Russia, the first country to send a man into space in 1961, plans to launch a manned mission to the Moon starting in 2031.