NASA is looking for people who intend to live on Mars for a year

Want to find your inner Matt Damon and spend a year pretending you’re isolated on Mars? NASA has a job for you.

To prepare for the eventual dispatch of astronauts to Mars, NASA began receiving requests on Friday for four people live for a year on Mars Dune Alpha. That’s a 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat, created by a 3D printer, and inside a building at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Paid volunteers will work a simulated Martian exploration mission complete with spacewalks, limited communications at home, restricted food and resources, and equipment failures.


ICON / NASA via AP

This photo provided by ICON and NASA in August 2021 shows a proposal for the Mars Dune Alpha habitat on Mars.

NASA is planning three of these experiments and the first will begin in the fall of next year. All foods will be ready-to-eat space foods and there are no planned windows at the moment. Some plants will be grown, but not potatoes like in the movie “The Martian”. Damon played abandoned astronaut Mark Watney, who survived on potatoes.

“We want to understand how humans behave in them,” said lead scientist Grace Douglas. “We are looking at realistic situations from Mars.”

The application process It opened on Friday and they are not looking for just anyone. The requirements are strict, including a master’s degree in a science, engineering or math field or pilot experience. Only US citizens or permanent residents of the United States are eligible. Applicants must be between the ages of 30 and 55, in good physical health, have no dietary problems, and not be prone to motion sickness.

That shows NASA is looking for people close to the astronauts, said former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. And he said. that’s good because it’s a better experiment if the participants are more similar to the people who will actually go to Mars. Russian efforts spent on a bogus mission to Mars called Mars 500 did not end well in part because people were too much like ordinary people, he said.

For the right person, this could be great, said Hadfield, who spent five months in orbit in 2013 at the International Space Station, where He played guitar and sang a cover video. from “Space Oddity” by David Bowie.

“Think about how much you can catch up on Netflix,” he said. “If they have a musical instrument there, you could go in without knowing anything and go out as a soloist, if you want.”

There could be “incredible freedom” in a “year away from the demands of your normal life.”

Attitude is key, said Hadfield, who has a novel “The Apollo Murders” due out in the fall. He said that participants should be like the character of Damon’s Watney: “Super competent, resourceful and not dependent on other people for comfort.”

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