Last updated: 17 may, 2010 - 17:43 GMT

Mars500: the space mission that's going nowhere

(Top on the stairs) Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of Human Spaceflight at ESA, poses togeter with the candidates (from background) Romain Charles (France), Jerome Clevers (Belgium), Arc'hanmael Gaillard (France) and Diego Urbina (Italy)

Romain Charles (second from right) is a quality manager at a company that produces composite panels

Six astronauts, based in Moscow, are about to experience what it is like travelling to Mars and back.

At the beginning of June, three Russian astronauts will be joined by Chinese, Italian and French colleagues on a simulated mission lasting 520 days.

They will not leave the ground, but they will be enclosed together in a mock spacecraft for a year and a half.

The mission will test the psychological and physical effects of being isolated for that length of time.

The French participant, Romain Charles, spoke to Europe Today.

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First broadcast 17 May 2010

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