They are pale and thin, but a team of volunteers kept in isolation to simulate a long voyage to Mars has emerged in good spirits.
The experiment near Moscow has ended after 520 days, with scientists now evaluating whether people can stay in good health and remain sane during any future mission by man to the red planet.
One crew member, Russian Sukhumb Kamolov, said: “The first step in the research has been taken, now it’s up to others in the future to continue the project.”
Another man, Romain Charles from France, said: “We all came out as a team, still together, and that’s a big achievement. I’m honoured and proud to have proved that a voyage to Mars is possible.”
A similar experiment in 2000 ended after 420 days when a drunken fight reportedly broke out between some of the volunteers. But this time round the atmosphere was much better.