After news that the Russian lead "Mars 500" experiment successfully began this week, NASA has announced its intentions to follow suit with a similar experiment of their own.
The Mars 500 experiment consists of six people-locked in a windowless capsule for a total of 519 days, simulating a flight to Mars whilst their water and food consumptions are closely monitored and their psychological condition documented. NASA claims their own experiment will trump that of the Russian's.
"The Ruskie's have always done things half arsed" said Dr. Ed Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space Science at NASA Headquarters, "Our Mars experiment will test every aspect of a manned flight to Mars, which will put the Mars 500 experiment to shame" he confidently claimed.
NASA's Mars experiment, codenamed "Documentary Of Orbit, Mars, Earth, Destinations" or "DOOMED" for short, will begin later this year when seven NASA trained astronauts will also be sealed in a windowless capsule, but for 520 days. During this time they will be subjected to what NASA calls the "three critical stages" of a manned flight to Earth's neighbour Mars, which they point out, Russia's Mars 500 experiment does not address.
-The first stage will be a simulated Earth launch, where NASA plans to fire the capsule with the astronauts inside, out of a specially designed cannon, sending it on a random flight path into the sky, then at approximately 10,000 feet, blow the capsule up in an attempt to simulate real launch conditions.
-The second stage will try to simulate the long, arduous, boring journey through open space to Mars and the conditions astronauts may face. "During this stage we plan to randomly expose the capsule and it's occupants to very high and extremely deadly levels of radiation, which would be encountered on a real trip to Mars-caused by the Suns solar winds" explained Dr. Weiler, "We will monitor their psychological condition during this stage to see if they can cope mentally with tripping out, their skin melting off, the fact they may start growing new body parts, like a fin or a tail and of course how they react to the sheer boredom of it all". This stage will last around 517 days and it's thought that if supplies run low, the astronauts may have to resort to the "Drink piss, eat shit" diet, popularly used by survivalists and some super models.
-The final stage will simulate the delicate task of landing on the red planet itself. "We plan to fire it out of a cannon again, this time, into the floor" Dr. Weiler informed us, he went on to add "After completing the first two stages and spending 500 plus days locked in the capsule, the astronauts will be a little worse for wear which could make the third stage a little tricky".
This final stage will take place at NASA's makeshift Mars base, created especially for this experiment, located in the North Pole. The capsule and occupants will be fired into the ground at 30,000 kph, 150 miles away from the makeshift Mars base and all communication with the capsule will be cut in an attempt to simulate a real Mars landing. "After the simulated landing, they face the tricky task of putting on their space suits whilst blood pisses out of them, then trying to find their way to the makeshift Mars base without the use of their limbs as all their bones would've no doubt been liquefied by the fore mentioned impact, all before the capsule explodes. This is where their survival skills will really pay off" explained Dr. Weiler.
Everyone at NASA are said to be excited and extremely proud of its DOOMED experiment. "This experiment is far, far more scientific than the Ruskie's so called Mars 500 experiment, after all, we already know the effects of locking people up for 500 plus days with no windows, limited food and water and with no communication to the outside world after the experiments that were done in Guantanamo" boasted a proud Dr. Weiler, before adding "stupid bastards".
In preparation for the experiment, we've been informed the seven astronauts are receiving intense physical and mental training and some notable specialists are being brought in to help. Amongst those specialists are said to be British Adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, British Adventurer Bear Grylls, whom once survived in a dessert for 34 days with nothing but a comb and a foot spa and they've also brought in "I'm a Celeb" veteran Katie Price.
NASA have spared no expense either, with the total cost of the experiment thought to be an estimated $10 billion, which no doubt will make a substantial dent in NASA's $18.9 billion budget for 2010, but they stood by their decision. "It's true the project will cost around $10 billion and yes it's true that $9.9 billion of that will be used to pay Katie's fee, but we make no apologies. We want the best training for our astronauts that money can buy, we will also supply them all with Swiss army knives, so they will be prepared for anything" said NASA Science Missions Directorate Director, Dr. Richard Fisher.
Outsiders believe that both experiments are equally important and some believe this could be the beginning of a new US/Russian "space race".