Romain Charles is an engineer at the European Space Agency. He was one of 6 volunteers who were selected to spend 520 days confined in an isolation facility. He did that to conduct research on the physiological and psychological aspects of spaceflight, to prepare humanity for long term missions in space, such as Mars missions, hence the name of the experiment: Mars500.
He spent the 520 days (that’s 1.5 years, or 17 months, or 74 weeks, or 12480 hours!) with two Russian, one Chinese and one Italian crew member in a space that is slightly bigger than an apartment. The entire crew was busy every day, conducting experiments that would help their colleagues outside of the confinement facility record what is going on inside. Sunlight, fresh air or fresh food were not awarded: the crew could only eat what they brought with them on day one, so there really was no way you can watch Netflix and snack on the supplies all day.
Watching the vlog recordings of the mission it becomes clear that even in these seemingly impossible conditions, the crew was highly engaged, close-knit and had a lot of fun: they celebrated birthdays, national holidays and even had a Halloween party, to break the routine.
Ramona Montalto, Senior Community Builder at SIX, wanted to know the secret of this joyful crew and tips how the employees of SIX can stay in touch, exchange information and stay involved as part of the #StayConnected initiative.
In this little video Romain Charles tells how we can make our current confinement and working habits more “Martian”:
All images: ESA