NASA Seeking Applicants for its Next Simulated Year-Long Mars Surface Mission

18th Feb 2024
NASA Seeking Applicants for its Next Simulated Year-Long Mars Surface Mission

NASA is currently on the lookout for individuals who are interested in taking part in a simulated year-long Mars surface mission. This mission, the second part of three ground-based missions referred to as CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog), aims to gather information for the agency’s future human exploration plans for the Red Planet. The mission is set to commence in the spring of 2025. 

NASA Wants You For Mars Surface Mission

As part of each CHAPEA mission, four volunteers will reside and work together in a 3D-printed, 1,700-square-foot habitat known as the Mars Dune Alpha, located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The purpose of this habitat is to replicate the difficulties that may occur during a Mars mission, such as equipment breakdowns, communication difficulties, limited resources, and other environmental challenges. The crew members will be responsible for tasks such as maintaining the habitat, exercising, carrying out simulated spacewalks, growing crops, and operating robots. 

NASA is searching for US citizens or permanent residents aged between 30 and 55 years who are proficient in English for effective communication between crew members and mission control, non-smokers, and in good health for their upcoming mission. Individuals who possess a strong desire for unique and rewarding experiences and who are also interested in assisting NASA’s efforts towards preparing for the first human journey to Mars.

The deadline for applicants is Tuesday, 2nd April.

NASA’s Criteria for Crew Selection and Mission Details for CHAPEA

The crew selection process will adhere to the standard NASA criteria for astronaut candidates. Applicants must have a master’s degree in the STEM field, such as computer science, engineering, biological, mathematics, or physical, from a certified institution, with a minimum of two years of professional experience in the STEM field or at least 1,000 hours of piloting an aircraft.

Applicants who have completed two years of a doctoral program in the STEM field, hold a medical degree, or have completed a test pilot program will also be evaluated. Moreover, those who hold a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field or have completed military officer training may be considered, provided they have four years of professional experience.

Additionally, compensation is available for those participating in the mission, and further details will be provided during the applicant screening process. 

NASA’s CHAPEA Missions: Contributing to its Artemis Campaign for Scientific Exploration on the Moon and Mars

As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign to establish a sustainable presence for scientific exploration and discovery on the Moon, the CHAPEA missions are crucial in providing essential scientific data to validate systems and establish solutions for upcoming missions to Mars.

NASA is utilizing the research acquired through the simulated missions to help promote crew health and performance during expeditions to the Red Planet, with the first CHAPEA crew having completed more than half of their year-long mission. 

Through the Artemis campaign, NASA aims to lay the groundwork for long-term scientific expiration on the Moon and achieve the milestone of landing the first woman, the first person of color, and its very first international partner astronaut on the lunar ground. The agency also looks to prepare for crewed missions to Mars for the betterment of all.

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