NASA is looking for volunteers for a year-long simulated Mars mission

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Mars, NASA has an offer for you. While the agency has yet to send humans to the red planet, it is preparing for a future manned Mars mission by setting up a simulated mission on Earth – and is looking for volunteers.

Simulation missions look at human psychological and health responses to conditions similar to what astronauts experience on space missions. In the case of the Mars mission, called Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog or CHAPEA, the goal is to simulate the Martian environment using a 3D printed habitat and a series of Mars-related tasks that crew members must perform.

The CHAPEA 1 mission crew (from left: Nathan Jones, Ross Brockwell, Kelly Haston, Anca Selariu) exits the pressurized rover prototype and heads to the CHAPEA facility before they enter the habitat on June 25, 2023. NASA/Josh Valcarcel

The CHAPEA study saw the first group of volunteers enter a 1,700-square-foot simulated Mars environment in June last year, where they will stay for approximately one year. And now NASA is recruiting a number of volunteers to join future teams.

“NASA is seeking healthy, motivated, non-smoker U.S. citizens or permanent residents aged 30-55 years, and proficient in English for effective communication between crew and mission controllers,” NASA said in a statement. release. “Applicants should have a strong desire for a unique and rewarding adventure and an interest in contributing to NASA’s work preparing for the first human journey to Mars.”

The goal is to recruit crew members similar to those who will carry out future Mars missions. So NASA tried scientists, who had master’s degrees in STEM fields such as biology, mathematics, or engineering, or pilots who had at least 1,000 hours of test experience.

This new group will enter the CHAPEA habitat in the spring of 2025 and will stay there for a full year. The role is paid, but it is not an easy job, as crew members must face simulated challenges, which NASA says include “resource limitations, equipment failures, communications delays, and other environmental stressors,” as well as handling days. daily operations include “spacewalk simulations, robot operations, habitat maintenance, exercise, and plant growth.”

If you are interested in applying, the deadline is April 2, and you can apply via CHAPEA website.

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