A space expert has hailed the success of an experiment which simulated the conditions of a long-haul space mission to Mars.
For the past year, a group of six people has lived in close quarters in a dome on the northern slope of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, without fresh air, fresh food or privacy. If they went outside, they wore space suits to maintain the simulation.
The team was made up of a French astro-biologist, a German physicist and four Americans - a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist. They emerged today following the end of the 12-month isolation period.
Andrew Lound, the UK National Coordinator for The Planetary Society, praised the simulation for creating a realistic environment for space travel.
"It would be fascinating to see how everyone gets on in a confined space," he told Penny Smith. "It's an absolutely fantastic experiment.
"The whole key is picking individuals who will get on with each other, despite their idiosyncrasies.
"Mars is going to be a particularly difficult one, because you're likely to be away for several years, so it's important to understand the psychology between people."