It has long been a goal to get humans on Mars, and it will soon become a reality – sort of.
As the space agency prepares to plan how humans would survive on the Red Planet, NASA is looking for four people to live in conditions similar to those on Mars in hopes of providing some idea on how that survival would look like.
Instead of going into outer space, the volunteers will live in the Mars Dune Alpha, a 3D-printed 1,700-square-foot module inside the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The model will include private rooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a workout room and space to grow crops.
NASA plans three of these experiments, the first in fall 2022, then in 2024 and 2025. The paid volunteers will be given tasks such as simulated spacewalks, use of virtual reality and scientific research.
Though it may seem fun to see what being on Mars is like, it’ll come with its challenges, such as dealing with equipment failure as well as limited communication to the outside world and resources. The challenges are expected to give NASA possible answers to problems that could arise in future missions.
“The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface,” Grace Douglas, lead scientist for NASA’s advanced food technology research, said in the news release. “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”
The application, which opened on Friday and is available through Sept. 17, says the agency is looking for permanent U.S. citizens ages 30 to 55 who are healthy and have no dietary concerns.
The selection will “follow standard NASA criteria for astronaut candidate applicants”: Candidates should have a master’s degree in a STEM field, professional STEM experience and pilot experience, according to the application.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.
Source: USA TODAY
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