NASA seeks volunteers to spend a year in Mars Dune Alpha simulation
You might not be able to move to Mars just yet, but you can do the next best thing: live in Mars Dune Alpha, a 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA is looking for volunteers to spend a year at Mars Dune Alpha — 3D printed by ICON — simulating the challenges of living on the surface of Mars and dealing with all the things that could go wrong during a real mission to Mars.
The first of three planned one-year simulations will start in autumn 2022 with four crew members. Applicants need to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents aged 30-55 who don’t smoke, are proficient in English, and have a master’s degree in a STEM field from an accredited institution with at least two years’ professional STEM experience or a minimum of 1,000 hours piloting an aircraft.
If you have a medical degree, have put in two years in STEM doctoral program, completed a test pilot program, you might be considered. Alternatively, if you have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field or have completed a military office training program plus four years of professional experience, you might be considered.
“The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface” said Grace Douglas, lead scientist for NASA’s Advanced Food Technology research effort at Johnson Space Center. “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”
If Mars Dune Alpha sounds like your kind of place, you can find an application at https://www.nasa.gov/chapea. Applications are open until 5 p.m. Central time Sept. 17. Finalists will undergo medical evaluations, psychological testing, and psychiatric screening to determine suitability for a physically and mentally demanding long-duration isolation mission.