Six would-be astronauts will this week begin a 520-day mock space voyage to simulate a mission to Mars. How will they cope with the huge psychological pressures? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8711216.stm Psychological pressures? First comment (bottom of the article) sums them up
it may be an interesting study, but not for the reasons given. a mars trip is so far into the future, it makes sense to build much of the infrastructure in space, rather like the iss, that will later be populated before heading off to mars where a module will break off and descend to mars. it's time to start work on those low-escape velocity vehicles that will shuttle personnel back and forth to the surface. it's probable that the bit of kit they are using for the experiment does not include hydroponic gardening. any mob setting off for another planet will need to be able to sustain itself in food. presumably these people will have no way of propogating any and much of their 550 cu m of space will be stuffed, al la submarine, with stores. one commenter suggested a prolonged under sea voyage as a more realistic simulation - good idea. bolt on a hydroponic section to a nuclear submarine and monitor how they fare.