"The research program is set to last over two years. For a long time, we've been conducting so-called dry immersions, since the seventies, but these were mainly short-term experiments that could last from several hours to 10 days; [they] usually [lasted] from five to seven days," she said. Dry immersion is a method of zero-gravity impact simulation during which the test subject lies on a layer of film immersed in water.
"This time, the experiment will last 21 days. A lunar mission, envisaging a flight there (to the Moon) and back, usually lasts from 14 to 16 days, so, this is a comparable term. We are certainly going to use the results of our research for preparations for a Moon flight," Tomilovskaya explained.
The experiment will include two stages. During the first stage, ten people being tested will be lying in baths for three weeks. Doctors will supervise their health condition during the two weeks before the start of the experiment and during the two weeks after its conclusion. The second stage will start in the fall of 2019. During [the study], a similar experiment will be conducted, along with a series of rotations on a short-radius centrifuge, designed in the Institute of Biomedical Problems. The centrifuge is set to simulate artificial gravity in space and thus impose load on the musculoskeletal system.
"You've certainly read in books and saw in films how gravity is created via a centrifuge in spaceships. Sometimes a spaceship looks like a centrifuge. And the question of how efficient this actually is remains unanswered," Tomilovskaya said.
In 2018, six people are set to take part in the experiment, including several employees of the Institute of Biomedical Problems, and in early 2019, four more test subjects will join them, the researcher explained.
The experiment has no target financing and is carried out at the initiative of the Institute of Biomedical Problems.
"There are several programs of the Russian Academy of Sciences' presidium, but in general we conduct the research using the funds of the institute and of its several laboratories," Tomilovskaya said.
Groups of scientists from Romania, Germany and Sweden will participate in the experiment.
On October 4, Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos, said that in six or seven years, Russia could send the Soyuz spacecraft to the Moon on an Angara carrier rocket.