To use our website in an optimal way, please activate JavaScript in your Browser.

Galileo® Training, Leonardo Mechanograph® and pQCT at the Mars500 mission – an overview


After 520 days behind the closed airlock the simulated flight to Mars ended successfully on the 4th November.

An overview of the project

Project partners

  • Russian Space Agency Roskosmos
  • European Space Agency (ESA)
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)


03.06.2010 to 04.11.2011
The duration of the experiment was 520 days, since the experts assume that a real Mars mission would take that long including a stay of several days.


Experimental plant of the Moscow Institute of Medico-Biological Problems (IBMP).


Three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese.


Isolation study: Simulation of a 520-day manned mission to Mars, which took place with the exception of weightlessness under real space conditions. It should be tested to see if people would cope with the psychological and physical impact of a Mars mission.

Participation of Novotec Medical

Among the total 11 German experiments Novotec Medical was represented with the following systems: On board were a Galileo Training device on which the participants trained during the period after a given plan, and a Leonardo Mechanograph (force platform for automated, objective and software-based motion analysis and performance diagnostics) for the documentation of the training success. Maintenance or even an system exchange during the mission was not possible because the hatches had to be closed for 520 days. In addition, a pQCT system (peripheral quantitative computed tomography) was used to record any bone changes of the 'terrestrial' astronauts at the end of the mission. Therefore directly before and after the mission measurements were performed.

Galileo Training and other training methods in use

A Galileo Training device was used that was identical to the basic mechanical and electronical components of the normal, compact series models Galileo Advanced or Advanced Plus. Only some additional modules such as a smart card support and a data logger to monitor the actual training time were added. In addition, an especially for the Mars500 mission developed solution for complete decoupling between vibration training device and station was used. This decoupling is also necessary for a possible use on the ISS, to prevent the transmission of vibrations to the highly sensitive space station.

In addition to vibration training on Galileo, two other well-established training methods were used that are already being used in space, for instance on the International Space Station: training on a rowing machine and a combined special training on a passive treadmill and bicycle ergometer. The three methods were used during the training period each in every two months consecutively. The aim was to investigate what can be achieved with the different training methods and how the various methods are accepted by the crew members. The daily training lasted at Galileo Training 15 minutes, with the two other training methods 1 to 1.5 hours. Besides the training period, there were also differences in the training goals. As a cardiovascular training rowing machine and the combination of treadmill and bicycle ergometer are aiming at an improved endurance. On the Galileo on the other hand, especially the fast muscle fibres are trained, which in turn aims at high performance and high strength. High forces are important for bone maintenance, high muscular performance is essential for everyday movements such as rising from a chair, climbing stairs, or the prevention of falls (and fractures) through rapid, targeted interception and balancing movements.

Results to date

First positive results of the successful completion of mission: The training of the crew members of Galileo was performed daily according to specifications and had a high level of acceptance. In addition, the quality of the underlying technology could be shown. The systems were running during the 520 days with no possibility for maintenance or repair from outside absolutely reliable. The comprehensive evaluation on the efficacy of various training methods will take some time.

For more information


Exterior view of the Mars500 container in the Moscow IBMP.

Motion analysis using Leonardo Mechanograph: Rainer Rawer (Head of Development Novotec Medical GmbH, left) and a crew member inside the Mars500 container.

Product groups: pQCT Bone Density & Bone Geometry, Leonardo Mechanograph®, Galileo® Therapy Systems, Galileo® Training Devices
Topics: Diagnostics with Leonardo & pQCT, Therapy & Prevention with Galileo®, Training with Galileo®