Six volunteers begin 520-day Mars isolation experiment: AFP

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Six male volunteers were on Thursday locked up in an isolation facility in Moscow where they will stay 520 days to simulate the effects of a mission to Mars, an AFP correspondent reported.

An Italian, a Frenchman, three Russians and a Chinese man will spend the next one and a half years in the 550 cubic metre isolation facility at a Moscow research institute.

The participants were given warm applause as they made their farewells before entering the module just before 1000 GMT, when the door was firmly shut by a scientist.

"See you in 520 days," said one of the Russian participants before entering the facility.

© 2010 AFP

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