Live On “Fake Mars” For A Year: NASA’s Simulated Mission Is Open For Applicants

Embarking on a cosmic adventure has become a tangible possibility for those daring enough to join NASA’s simulated mission to “fake Mars.” The space agency recently opened applications for volunteers willing to spend a year living on a simulated Red Planet, offering a unique opportunity to contribute valuable information for planning future human missions to the real Mars. This initiative is part of NASA’s CHAPEA missions, which involve ground-based simulations designed to replicate the challenges and conditions of an actual Mars mission. The second CHAPEA mission, scheduled for spring 2025, will feature a four-person volunteer crew residing in a 1,700-square-foot 3D-printed habitat called the Mars Dune Alpha, located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The habitat aims to mimic the harsh conditions astronauts would face on Mars, including limited resources, equipment failures, communication delays, and other environmental stressors.

Volunteers will engage in various tasks, such as simulated spacewalks, operating robots, maintaining the habitat, exercising, and even growing crops. NASA has set specific criteria for selecting participants, seeking healthy, motivated U.S. citizens or permanent residents between the ages of 30 and 55 who are non-smokers and proficient in English. Additionally, candidates must have a master’s degree in a STEM field or relevant professional experience. The agency is offering compensation to volunteers, though the exact nature of the benefits remains undisclosed. The CHAPEA missions align with NASA’s broader goals, contributing scientific data to validate systems and develop solutions for future human expeditions to Mars and the Moon under the Artemis campaign.

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