Mars Experiment Crew 'Returns to Earth'

There are no official plans yet to go to Mars. The Russian space industry is ready to start working on a mission but the political will is missing, said Yuri Karash of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics. He hopes a mission will happen not just for space exploration, but for the practical uses on Earth that will result as they did from the initial Apollo missions to the moon.

"We learned a lot about human biology, physiology," Karash said of the Apollo program. "Imagine how much they will learn [from going to Mars] about resistance of the human body to unfavorable conditions of the long-term human space flight. This knowledge can be applied to Earth."

Is Mars 'the Next Step'?

The notion that Mars is "the next step" arose from many participating in the event, and the consensus is that it will only be feasible if countries and space agencies band together, as they have with Mars 500. Karash hopes it will happen in the next 15 years, but the European Space Agency and NASA are planning for closer to 30 years out.

"It's important for humankind, it's no longer just a national priority, it's an international priority," said Igor Savelev of the American National Space Biomedical Research institute. "Any large project like flight to Mars will have to be international."

ABC News' Tanya Stukalova contributed to this report.

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