NASA Puts Out Call for Volunteers: 'Martians Wanted'

Live and work in Mars simulator for a year to help space agency prep for the real thing
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2024 10:15 AM CST
NASA Puts Out Call for Volunteers: 'Martians Wanted'
This could be your view from your home on "Mars" for the next year, if NASA picks you.   (Getty Images/Nzoka John)

For those just itching to find out what it's like to live on the red planet, NASA has your dream job. The space agency is looking for four volunteers for its next mission to simulate life on Mars for a year. Selected applicants would actually be living in Houston, in a 3D-printed, 1,700-square-foot "habitat" meant to simulate life on Mars, according to a "Martians wanted" release from the space agency. The facility, located at NASA's Johnson Space Center, would host the volunteers as they emulate what it would be like to live and work on Mars, completing such tasks as pretend spacewalks, growing crops, keeping the Mars Dune Alpha habitat in tip-top shape, and even getting a good workout in.

The crew would also deal with challenges that a real-life crew would face, including gear failures, dwindling resources, and "other environmental stressors," per the release. CBS News reports that the habitat includes "living quarters for each volunteer, a workspace, a medical station, lounge areas, and a galley and food growing stations." NPR notes that NASA is already halfway through its first Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA) mission; this next one would be set to start in the spring of 2025.

To be eligible, applicants must be healthy, nonsmoking US citizens or permanent residents between the ages of 30 and 55 who are "motivated" and proficient in English. Certain STEM experience is also necessary; different educational/career/military experience combinations are applicable. "Compensation for participating in the mission is available," the NASA release notes, though it doesn't get into just what that compensation would be. Interested parties can apply here by April 2. (More Mars stories.)

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