Fortis watches keep time on manned mission to Mars

Watches already selected for Mars500 pre-mission endurance experiment.

Fortis watches could be the first timepieces on Mars if a manned European mission to the red planet goes ahead in the future.

The German watchmaker is already involved in a pre-mission experiment where a crew of six people are confining themselves to a simulation unit for 520 days – the exact duration of a manned trip to Mars and back.

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The experiment, dubbed Mars500, is a test of human endurance that will see the crew living in a mock-up of an interplanetary spaceship for almost 18 months.

Keeping time will be Limited Edition 2012 Fortis B-42 Black Mars500 watches – a latest leg of a partnership between Fortis and space travel that reaches back to 1992.

The Mars500 project will mimic a full mission to Mars and back as accurately as possible without actually going there. It will be the first full-duration simulated mission to Mars, starting in a special facility in Moscow next summer.

Without ever leaving earth, the crew will make a 250 day trip to Mars, spend 30 days on a simulated Mars surface and then make the 240 day return journey.

“Mars is the ultimate goal of the global human exploration programme”, said Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight.

“We want to make sure that our astronauts are as prepared as possible in the future for the physical and mental demands of long-duration exploration missions, and to develop countermeasures against any adverse effects of such a mission. Mars500 isolation study is a major milestone in this,” he added.




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