Researchers complete 520-day mock mission to Mars

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MOSCOW (AP) ? An international crew of researchers is wrapping up a grueling 520-day simulation of a flight to Mars inside a network of windowless modules at a Moscow space research center.

The all-male crew of three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese have stayed at the facility since June 2010 to simulate confinement, stress and fatigue of interplanetary travel ? minus the weightlessness. They are set to leave their claustrophobic quarters later Friday.

The crew communicated with the organizers and their families via the Internet, which was delayed and occasionally disrupted to imitate the effects of space travel. They ate canned food similar to that offered on the International Space Station.

The organizers said each crew member will be paid about $100,000.