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NASA is looking for four candidates willing to immerse themselves in a simulation of life on Mars

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NASA is looking for four candidates willing to immerse themselves in a simulation of life on Mars

NASA Seeks Volunteers for Year-Long Mars Simulation

NASA is seeking four motivated volunteers to take part in a year-long simulation of the first human expedition to Mars. The program, known as CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analogy), will take place in a 3D-printed Mars habitat located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Those interested in being part of this unique adventure and contributing to NASA’s work to prepare for the first human trip to Mars have until Tuesday, April 2, 2024 to submit their application. The space agency emphasized the importance of this exercise for collecting scientific data that validates systems and develops solutions for future missions to the Red Planet.

The Mars Dune Alpha project, as this simulated environment has been called, is designed to imitate the living and working conditions on Mars, including the management of limited resources and exposure to the challenges of this alien environment. Participants will reside in a space of approximately 158 square meters, which will feature separate living and working areas, including four bedrooms, a workstation, a medical station, rest areas, as well as a kitchen and food growing stations.

Within the simulation, the volunteers will face various challenges such as simulated spacewalks, habitat maintenance, and working with robotics. Additionally, they will experience “the planet’s typical environmental stressors,” as well as equipment failures and communications delays, more accurately simulating the difficulties they would face on Mars.

To be considered, candidates must be motivated U.S. citizens or permanent residents, between the ages of 30 and 55, speak English, be non-smokers and possess a strong disposition for unique and rewarding adventures. Applicants must also have experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), including a master’s degree in engineering, mathematics, biology or other sciences, professional experience, or at least two years of doctoral work in these areas, a pilot program of testing, or 1,000 hours of piloting experience. Military experience or a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field and four years of professional experience will also be considered.

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In addition to the relevance for the preparation of future missions to Mars, this program is part of a series of initiatives, such as the Artemis mission, aimed at learning more about the Moon and eventually sending the first woman, the first person of color and international partners to our satellite.

Selected volunteers will receive compensation for their participation in the mission, which follows the first CHAPEA experiment still in development, allowing NASA to gain crucial insights into health and performance during Mars explorations.

To date, Mars exploration has been exclusively robotic. However, previous missions have provided valuable information about the planet’s conditions, including its atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon gases, and temperatures ranging from 21 degrees Celsius to -153 degrees Celsius.

The simulated Mars mission offers a unique opportunity for individuals to contribute to the preparation for future human exploration of the red planet and advance our understanding of the challenges and possibilities of interplanetary travel.

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