520 Mock Mars Mission Ends

Six men who lived in cramped, windowless compartments for more than 17 months to simulate a mission to Mars emerged Friday from their capsules, looking haggard but all smiles, and dreaming of lying in the sun, taking long strolls and driving fast cars.

The Mars500 project, undertaken at a Moscow institute, was intended to find out how the human mind and body would cope on a long-duration spaceflight.

It is a venture that has fascinated all who have followed it around the globe.

It seemed more like a bizarre reality TV show than high-tech international space travel experiment: Six men lived in cramped, windowless compartments for more than 17 months to simulate a mission to Mars.