NASA seeking crew members to live on Mars – without leaving Earth

NASA is recruiting crew members for its 2022 mission to explore what life will be like on Mars – and volunteers won’t even have to leave Earth to participate.

The US government agency is opening applications for four people to take part in the first of three Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHPEA) missions, each one a year-long Mars surface simulation.

During the mission the crew members will live and work in a 158m2 3D-printed module called Mars Dune Alpha where they will be studied to see how they respond to the conditions.

The mission is critical to test solutions that will be needed for Mars, said Grace Douglas, lead scientist for NASA’s advanced food technology research effort.

“Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go,” they said.

The simulations will be based at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre and the crew will face similar challenges to what they might on Mars, including equipment failure, communication issues, inhospitable environments and resource limitations.

“Crew tasks may include simulated spacewalks, scientific research, use of virtual reality and robotic controls, and exchanging communications,” NASA wrote.

Unfortunately, Kiwis looking to escape New Zealand’s brutal housing market for a year will also need US citizenship or permanent residence to apply.

Selection will be based on standard NASA criteria for astronauts.

Candidates will also need to be non-smokers aged between 30 and 55 years old and be proficient in English, as well as hold a Master’s Degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) related field.

The entire selection process can take up to 13 months, NASA said. While compensation will be available for those selected, the agency hasn’t detailed what that will be.

Among the risks of the recruitment process include “loss of subject privacy or confidentiality, minor discomforts and low level radiation exposure from x-rays during medical exams, and physical injury or a highly unlikely chance of death”, NASA wrote.

NASA’s first space-based step towards Mars is the Artemis program, where it will land the first woman and first person of colour on the moon to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.

As well as NASA’s programme, billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk has signalled his intention to create a human colony on Mars. His SpaceX company is attempting to land humans on the Red Planet by 2026.

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NASA to Recruit People to go to Mars! Know How to Apply and Eligibility Criteria

Mars Representative Purpose Only (Photo Credits: Pixabay)

In an attempt to make its year-long Mars surface simulation a success, the US space agency NASA is looking out for ‘highly driven individuals’ who would live in a 1,700-square-foot Mars Dune Alpha module 3D-printed by ICON. The three one-year Mars surface simulations located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center are part of the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog series of missions. The program has three simulations, with the first starting in 2022 and each of these programs will have four crew members spending 365 days in isolated mock habitats of the Red Planet.

The applications to dive into this program are available now and will close on September 12, 2021. Participants must be between the ages of 30 and 55, hold a master’s degree in a STEM discipline, and have at least two years of comparable work experience to be considered.  Mars Is Calling! NASA Invites Applications for Mission That Will Simulate Life on Red Planet, Know Eligibility Criteria and How To Apply.

  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Be within the ages of 30-55
  • Possess a master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics, from an accredited institution.
  • Have at least two years of related professional experience in a STEM field or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.
  • Be able to pass the NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical.

The master’s degree requirement can also be met by:

  • Two years (36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours) of work toward a doctoral program in a related science, technology, engineering, or math field.
  • A completed Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.
  • Completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2021) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.
  • Participants with a Bachelor’s degree and other specific qualifications (e.g., relevant additional education, military, or at least 4 years of professional experience in a STEM field) may also be considered.

Speaking of the program, Grace Douglas, lead scientist for NASA’s Advanced Food Technology research effort at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said that the analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface. The analogues will fund research on strategies and technology for preventing and resolving potential issues on future human spaceflight trips to the Moon and Mars. Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 10, 2021 11:50 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).

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NASA Invites Regular Folks To Spend A Year In Its Simulated Mars Mission

Want to experience what life on Mars would be like for a year, but lack astronaut credentials? Don’t worry. Go, apply for NASA’s Mars analog mission.

NASA has started accepting applications for its next Mars analog mission that will have participants live in a simulated atmosphere that is similar to that of the red planet, helping study the physical, emotional, and mental effects of such a habitat. Now, the space agency is no stranger to the concept of an analog test, and actually runs a wide range of long-term simulation tests for diverse habitats. The key objective is to prepare for near-term as well as future exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids. However, it is not feasible to conduct all tests in space due to multiple reasons such as time constraints, availability of resources, and manpower to name a few.

This is where analog missions come to the rescue, as they allow scientists to conduct ground-based tests at a quicker pace and with fewer resources spent, while also preparing countermeasures that are fit to be executed in space. NASA has been conducting analog tests for years that have involved preparing man for space flight as well as journies to the moon. Moreover, the missions can be of varied types such as Isolation and Confinement, Bedrest, and Radiation Analog to name a few. One of the well-known examples is the HERA analog mission, a three-story habitat that has been designed with isolation, confinement, and remote living scenarios that mirror what space travelers might encounter.

The latest addition to NASA’s analog mission portfolio is called Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, and it is targeted at the human exploration of Mars. The space agency is currently accepting applications for its first one-year analog mission that simulates a Martian habitat on Earth to study its adverse effects on the human mind and body. Currently, the plan is to run three one-year Mars surface simulation tests at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. However, compared to an actual space mission, an analog mission has a few key differences. An analog mission is conducted with gravity intact, the participants can be everyday folks, the radiation levels are normal, and unlike space, there’s an immediate emergency exit protocol in place. Oh, and the toilets in an analog mission are “somewhat normal.”

Preparing For Life On Mars With Simulated Tests On Earth

The four crew members selected for each mission will spend their time in a 3D-printed 1,700-square-foot module that goes by the name Mars Dune Alpha. The key areas of research for the analog mission will be Martian surface scenarios such as equipment failure, communication hurdles, surviving with limited resources at hand, and stress-inducing environmental factors. NASA says the analog mission will help develop the technology for solving potential obstacles to manned spaceflight missions destined for Mars as well as the Moon. The four crew members, as part of the test routine, might have to perform tasks such as simulated spacewalks, trying out robotic and VR controls, analyzing communication, and carrying out the desired scientific research.

For folks without an astronaut’s resume, these analog missions are the best chance to experience how life in space or another planet’s atmosphere might look and feel, while also helping develop the systems that will be critical for survival in such scenarios. NASA will accept applications for participating as a crew member in its Mars analog mission through 5:00 pm (CST) on September 17, 2021, while the one-year program kicks off in the fall season of 2022. In addition to meeting the desired qualification criteria, the candidates will also have to go through medical tests, psychological assessments, and psychiatric evaluations to test their suitability for the mission. Complete qualification details, mission requirements, and the application are available on NASA’s website.

Source: NASA (1), (2)

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NASA recruits explorers for yearlong simulated Mars mission on Earth

This render shows a conceptual Mars habitat.

ICON

You can’t go to Mars just yet, but you can apply to go to the closest thing we’ll have on Earth: a NASA-run mission that will coop up four crew members in a 1,700-square-foot 3D-printed habitat for a year.

NASA will conduct three of the yearlong analog missions meant to mimic the challenges of living on Mars without ever leaving Earth. “The analogs will support research to develop methods and technologies to prevent and resolve potential problems on future human spaceflight missions to the moon and Mars,” the space agency said in a statement on Friday.

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NASA is now accepting applications for the first mission known officially as Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog. It will take place in a module called Mars Dune Alpha at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The module will have four private crew quarters, workstations, medical stations and food-growing areas.

This won’t be a vacation. “The habitat will simulate the challenges of a mission on Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors,” NASA said. Participants will be on a “spaceflight-like diet,” which means no fast-food burgers or pizza delivery. Astronauts on the ISS often eat nonperishable  foods, though they have been growing their own edible plants.

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The space agency has a few criteria. Applicants must be non-smoking US citizens or permanent residents from 30 to 55 years old with a master’s degree (or equivalent experience) in a STEM field. You’ll need to be able to pass an astronaut physical. 

NASA has not yet disclosed the pay scale for pretending to live on Mars for a year. 

Applications are open until Sept. 17 and the Earth-bound mission is scheduled to start in late 2022. This will be a mission for dedicated people who aren’t afraid of isolation, lack of comforts and a long time away from family and friends. But at least the crew will be stepping back out into the familiar world of Earth when it’s all over.

Follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.      

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