Russia to recruit volunteers to fly to Mars

When the construction of the International Space Station /ISS/ is completed, members of a future Martian expedition will be recruited for the cosmonauts' team, Major-General Vasily Tsibliyev, first deputy head of the cosmonaut training centre of Russia, said on Monday.

Describing the new complement to the cosmonauts' team to journalists, he noted that a flight to Mars would require pilots, medical specialists, biologists, and scientists in other fields. Their training programme, Tsibliyev said, will differ from the current one, because it must be carried out with an eye on an extended mission involving a large volume of research work and "will call for high intellectual standards in physically fit people".

He said that men for the cosmonauts' group were currently being selected in Russia according to the 'branch-specific" principle - from the air force, enterprises concerned with space technologies, or linked with Rosaviakosmos - the Russian aerospace agency.

The selection principle used in the US is different, Tsibliyev said. There are concrete requirements formulated to intellectual and physical qualities of a candidate and anyone wishing to devote his life to space may apply and undergo the screening process.

The general believes that "evidently the same principle will be used in Russia to choose candidates for a flight to Mars".

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