CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The International Space Station may provide the setting for a 500-day pretend trip to Mars in another few years.

NASA said today that it is considering using the space station as a dry run for a simulated trip to and from Mars. It would be patterned after Russia’s mock flight to Mars that lasted 520 days at a Moscow research center. Six men were involved in that study, which ended late last year. They were locked in a steel capsule.

NASA’s space station program manager, Mike Suffredini, says before astronauts can fly beyond low-Earth orbit, they’ll have to spend more than six months aloft at a time. The human endurance record of 14 months was set by a Russian cosmonaut aboard the Mir space station in the mid-1990s.


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