Monday, September 29, 2003

Space Station Stay Shows Humans Could Go to Mars: "Astronauts stranded for two extra months aboard the International Space Station after the shuttle Columbia accident showed that humans are strong enough to make the long trip to Mars, one of the expedition's members said on Monday.

"Donald Pettit, one of three members of the station's Expedition Six, said he and his two crew-mates who spent 161 days on the space station inadvertently demonstrated humans' fitness for interplanetary travel. ...

"We were on orbit in a reduced-gravity environment for 5-1/2 months, about as long as a one-way trip to Mars," Pettit said. "We got in our own vehicle, piloted it down to Earth through an air-brake maneuver ... Without any help from the ground we secured the spacecraft, we opened the hatch, we crawled out ..."

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