Counter-Strike Keeps Mars Sim Experiment Members Sane

The six crew members of the $15 million Mars500 experiment each paid 3 million roubles ($98,300) to participate in a 17-month long test to see if people stay healthy and sane on a trip to the red planet. The all-male crew of a 520-day mock mission to Mars had to find ways to ease tensions. After all, if you are on a trip to Mars it's probably not a good idea to pick a real fight with your comrade, who is more than likely a specialist in some field you are going to need. According to a Reuters report the crew turned to video games to ease their tension during the 17-month sim.

Inside the windowless module at a Moscow research facility, the crew split into teams – three Russians against two Europeans and one Chinese – and played Counter-Strike, according 32-year-old Russian Alexander Smoleyevsky.

"We know that flies can turn into elephants in space so whatever conflict arose, we tried to nip it in the bud," said Rustamovich Sukhrob, age 37.

The experiment ended on November 4th but the crew will now have to readjust to normal life. While all of them lost a lot weight living off of rations, no one got in any serious altercations; this is an important milestone because the last time an experiment of this scale was done it ended badly. A previous 420-day experiment in 2000 ended in a "drunken disaster" with two crew members getting into a fist fight and another trying to forcibly kiss a female crew member.

While the latter problem was solved by excluding female participants (read into that what you will), the former problem seems to have been solved by Counter-Strike and what I assume is a lack of alcohol.

Source: Reuters

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