Russian scientists reproduce gas mixture for human breathing at Mars

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Moscow, Apr 28 (UNI) Russian scientists have reproduced a gas mixture that human beings may breathe on the way to Mars and on the Red Planet, a Russian TV Channel today said.

Scientists at the Moscow Biomedical Problems Institute have constructed an experimental capsule and reproduced within it the conditions that might be encountered during a mission to Mars, Russia Today TV channel reported.

The gas inside, argon accounts for only one per cent of the Earth's atmosphere but there is plenty of it on Mars. Mixed in the right proportion with oxygen, it can secure reliable supplies of breathable air.

''We have had 60 percent of argon in the capsule. The rest was oxygen and nitrogen. We have been testing how humans would react to that mixture of gases and whether they would still be able to fulfill their duties under the psychological and physical pressure,'' project head, Alexander Dyachenko told the channel.

Air or something that substitutes it is crucial to human life, and the absence of a breathable atmosphere is one of the main obstacles to discovering other planets, he said.

The ten-day experiment is now officially complete and volunteers say the gas mixture inside the capsule is totally different from the air outside.

''When the hatchway opened, I could feel how different the air was. It actually smells. Can't be compared with the cocktail of gases we have had in there,'' Roman Chernogorov, a volunteer for the project said.

Two more experiments are being planned - one for 120 days and another, a real-time simulation called Mars 500, will confine volunteers in the capsule for 500 days.

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