Here is how to watch Saleh Al Ameri leave his Russian isolation pod on Sunday

Saleh Al Ameri has been carrying out space travel research in the habitat for eight months

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The Russian space agency will live stream the moment six human test subjects exit an isolation pod in Moscow that they have been living in for eight months as part of a space travel experiment.

One of the crew members includes Emirati mechanical engineer Saleh Al Ameri, 31, who left his life in Abu Dhabi behind to live almost completely cut off from the world to train for the UAE’s first analogue mission.

The tests being conducted in the pod study the psychological and physiological effects of isolation by simulating journeys into deep space.

On July 3, at 2pm UAE time, the hatch of the NEK experimental complex will be opened to let Mr Saleh and his colleagues — three Russians and two Americans — out into the world for the first time since November 4.

The event will be streamed on Roscosmos' YouTube channel.

They will be welcomed by their respective space agencies, including officials from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

After being closed off inside a small space for months, they will finally get to go home.

Each participant had their own room and access to a “living room”, where they could socialise.

But most of their time was spent carrying out experiments, such as using virtual headsets to perform spacewalks, dock with a Moon-orbiting station and drive a rover on the lunar surface.

‘Staying awake for 48 hours’

Mr Al Ameri said one of the most challenging experiments for him was when he and the other participants had to stay awake for two full days.

“Personally, one of the difficult experiences I conducted was for sleep deprivation for 48 hours,” he said earlier this week in a video released by the space centre.

“The challenge lies in the preparations, which include abstaining from caffeine and stimulants for three days prior to the experiment.

Saleh Al Ameri and five other international crew members will exit the Russian isolation pod on July 3, where they carried out space travel experiments for eight months. Photo: Dubai Media Office

“I recall that we were all affected by sleep deprivation.”

Mr Al Ameri said he was looking forward to enjoying the outdoors again and doing adrenalin-fuelled activities such as skydiving.

Impact on mind and body from isolation

Nasa has previously explained how isolation can affect the mind and body, including the impact on astronauts who spend long periods of time in space.

The US space agency carries out similar analogue missions as part of their Human Research Programme, which the UAE will participate in next year.

Nasa said some side effects after coming out of prolonged isolation include difficulty adjusting to daily routines and normal social interactions, and choices may seem complicated.

Yajaira Sierra-Sastre, who was in near-isolation for four months during a Nasa analogue mission, said it was difficult stepping back out into the world.

“I was overwhelmed by automobiles,” she said.

“The fast pace, the noise, but I also experienced a wonderful bliss when I saw the bright blue colours of the sea.”

Updated: July 02, 2022, 6:44 AM
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