NASA wants you to spend a year pretending to live on Mars
[Aug 9, 2021: MIT]
This photo provided by ICON and NASA in August 2021 shows a proposal for the Mars Dune Alpha habitat on Mars. (CREDIT: ICON/NASA)
Between intermittent lockdowns and raging wildfires, mass inequality and capitalism’s never-ending grind, life on Earth has never felt so exhausting. If, like us, you’re reaching the end of your tether, NASA is looking for people to spend a year pretending to live on Mars in the name of science.
The space agency is seeking applicants for a “one-year analog mission in a habitat to simulate life on a distant world”. Four crew members will stay in a 1,700-square-foot space at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where they will perform tasks such as simulated spacewalks and using virtual reality and robotic controls, among other things.
It won’t be easy though: NASA warns that the crew will experience simulated problems similar to those humans might encounter on Mars, such as resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors.
“Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go,” said Grace Douglas, the lead scientist for NASA‘s Advanced Food Technology research effort at NASA‘s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"We want to understand how humans perform in them," she said. "We are looking at Mars realistic situations."
The application process opened Friday and they're not seeking just anybody. The requirements are strict, including a master's degree in a science, engineering or math field or pilot experience. Only American citizens or permanent U.S. residents are eligible. Applicants have to be between 30 and 55, in good physical health with no dietary issues and not prone to motion sickness.
That shows NASA is looking for people who are close to astronauts, said former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. And, he said. that's a good thing because it is a better experiment if the participants are more similar to the people who will really go to Mars. Past Russian efforts at a pretend Mars mission called Mars 500 didn't end well partly because the people were too much like everyday people, he said.
However, if you think you’re up to the challenge, you can find out more about the mission on NASA’s website.
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