Do you want to spend a year pretending you are isolated on Mars? There you go…
NASA has a job for you. You can get paid while pretending to live on Mars. Your dream of becoming an astronaut is about to fulfil.
To prepare for eventually sending astronauts to Mars, NASA began taking applications Friday for four people to live for a year in Mars Dune Alpha. That’s a 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat, created by a 3D printer, and inside a building at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Volunteers will be paid and work a simulated Martian exploration mission complete with spacewalks, limited communications back home, restricted food and resources, and equipment failures.
The application process opened Friday and they’re not seeking just anybody. The requirements are strict, including a master’s degree in a science, engineering, or math field or pilot experience. Only American citizens or permanent U.S. residents are eligible. Applicants have to be between 30 and 55, in good physical health with no dietary issues, and not prone to motion sickness.
NASA is planning to start its experiment with the first one, next year. Food will all be ready-to-eat space food and at the moment there are no windows planned. Some plants will be grown, but not potatoes.
“We want to understand how humans perform in them,” said lead scientist Grace Douglas. “We are looking at Mars realistic situations.”
The eligibility criteria indicate that NASA is looking for people who are close to astronauts and have a relevant idea.
However, “that shows NASA is looking for people who are close to astronauts”, said former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. And, he said. that’s a good thing because it is a better experiment if the participants are more similar to the people who will go to Mars. Past Russian efforts at a pretend Mars mission called Mars 500 didn’t end well partly because the people were too much like everyday 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 of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
“Just think how much you’re going to be able to catch up on Netflix,” he said. “If they have a musical instrument there, you could go into there knowing nothing and come out a concert musician, if you want.”
There could be “incredible freedom” in a “year away from the demands of your normal life.”