Crew of mock Mars mission appear healthy, joyful

MOSCOW (AP) ? An international crew of six researchers say after completing a 520-day simulation of a mission to Mars that a busy work schedule helped them cope with the challenges of isolation.

The crew said Tuesday that doing regular exercise, reading books and trying to learn foreign languages also helped them deal with stress and fatigue.

The crew of three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese appeared energetic and happy at their first news conference after leaving their claustrophobic quarters last Friday.

Russian team leader Alexey Sitev said they had no conflicts thanks to efficient psychological training before the mission.

A real flight to Mars is a distant prospect due to challenges such as creating a compact shield that would protect the crew from deadly space radiation.