NASA recruits four volunteers to simulate life on Mars for a year

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NASA is recruiting. The US space agency is looking for four volunteers to participate in three life simulation "test missions" on Mars for a year, according to a press release published on August 6.

The goal of this program called Chapea (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog) is to better prepare for future expeditions of women and men to the red planet.

Starting in the fall of 2022, four volunteers will be confined for an entire year as part of life simulations on Mars. The unprecedented experiment will take place at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The four chosen will live in the Mars Dune Alpha, a 150 m2 3D printed module.

Study the effects of isolation in humans.

The missions of these four volunteers will be diverse, such as simulating spacewalks or conducting various scientific investigations, using robotic tools and virtual reality.

The lucky ones will also be subject to restrictions to study the effects of isolation on humans. Therefore, the volunteers will have to live independently, operate robots, solve technical problems such as communication problems with the outside world, move with diving suits. They will also have limited resources.

The goal is to assess the reactions of "highly motivated individuals" and "test solutions that meet the complex needs of life on the surface of Mars," the statement said. "These experiments will collect scientific data that will help understand and address the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before departing," says Grace Douglas, a member of the Advanced Energy Technologies Research Program at the Johnson Space Center.

Selection criteria

NASA imposes some selection criteria. You must be a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States, between the ages of 30 and 55. In addition to mastering English, you must also have a degree in mathematics, physics, biology, or engineering. In addition, candidates must justify "at least two years of professional experience or a minimum of a thousand hours of piloting an airplane." Finally, NASA asks to be "in good health, motivated and non-smoker."

For remuneration, NASA remains very evasive. The US space agency simply refers to "participation compensation." The submission of applications ends on September 17.

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