Future Mars explorers will be grateful to the crew of Mars500, a pioneering simulation of a manned space mission to Mars began on June 3, 2010. Mars500 crew member Diego Urbina, of Italian-Colombian nationality, will tweet his experience as @diegou.

In this ambitious experiment, the longest ever attempted, a crew of 6 will spend 520 days confined in an isolation facility simulating a spaceship, with no contact with the outside world other than the radio communication and data links of a space mission to Mars. This experiment will help learn more about some of the most challenging and little known aspects of long duration trips to Mars, i.e. psychological and medical issues.

In an interview in Italian to space podcast AstronautiCAST a few days before Mars500 began, Diego also talked about his use of Twitter. He has been using Twitter for a long time. Now this microblogging service, besides being a project outreach tool, will let Diego keep in touch with the outside world and make him feel less isolated.

Let’s follow @diegou and interact with Diego in this pioneering experiment. For mission updates and information also follow @Mars_500.