Story at a glance:
- NASA wants four individuals to live in conditions similar to life on Mars.
- The Mars Dune Alpha is a 1,700-square-foot module inside the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
- The experiment starts in fall 2022.
If you’re curious about living on Mars but can’t make the lifetime commitment, you may still be in luck. NASA is currently recruiting for a 4-person crew to take part in a one-year mission that will simulate life on a distant world — all while staying on Earth, the agency announced Friday.
Volunteers will live in a 1,700-square-foot module, 3D printed by ICON, called Mars Dune Alpha. The habitat will simulate the “challenges of a mission on Mars,” as the crew will have to handle resource limitations, equipment failure, communiticate delays, and other environmental stressors, NASA said.
Participants will also go on simulated spacewalks and complete scientific research.
Facing these challenges head on — and playing them out on Earth — will give NASA the answers it needs to solve problems that could arise in future space 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 effort at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement. “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”
The Dune Alpha has private rooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms, workout room and space to grow one’s crop, USA Today reported.
The experiment will start in fall 2022 and volunteers are paid.
Applications opened this Friday and will close on Sept. 17. NASA is looking for permanent U.S. citizens between the ages 30 and 55 who are healthy and have no dietary concerns.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA