The Phoenix escape capsule being used for the final stage of the rescue of the Chilean miners is just 53 centimetres wide, four metres long and weighs 450 kilos. It will make 37 return trips, each lasting about half an hour.
The journey will be cramped and claustrophobic, so the strongest miner will be the first out to test the unprecedented operation. But before anyone is rescued, four people will join the miners, two mining experts and two doctors.
They will make safety examinations and check the miner’s health before the stressful return to the surface.
Each man will be equipped with sunglasses, a two-way radio, and special suits that will monitor their vital signs.
Once on the surface they will be in semi-quarantine for 48 hours for medical checks and to allow them to re-accustom themselves to life above ground.
They should also brace themselves for the glare of the media spotlights.
Only after the 48-hour period will they be allowed to talk to the press and resume their normal lives – if that is possible.
Goodies awaiting them include a free Greek holiday, invitations to Real Madrid and Manchester United football matches, and $10,000 (7,240 euros).