NASA is looking for applicants who are willing to spend a year living in its 3D-printed analog simulation of the Mars habitat, the first of three planned analog missions aimed at simulating what it would be like to live in a similar structure on Mars. According to the space agency, these ground missions will help the agency mitigate potential problems that could arise during future space missions.
The 3D printed Mars habitat module was created by ICON and is called Mars Dune Alpha. The habitat is 1,700 square feet and will be home to four crew members over the course of a year. Applicants who are selected to participate in this mission will be required to perform tasks that simulate those that astronauts can perform on Mars.
This includes, for example, communication exchanges with NASA’s JPL team, as well as simulated spacewalks and scientific research. Various challenges that may arise during a future space mission will also be part of this test, examples of which include equipment failure and “environmental stressors.”
The opportunity is available to individuals who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States, who are between the ages of 30 and 55, non-smokers and fluent in English. NASA says it will use its standard criteria for aspiring astronauts, which means there are some important education and credential requirements.
For example, applicants must have spent at least 1,000 hours piloting an aircraft or a master’s degree with at least two years of professional experience in a STEM field. Additionally, applicants must have at least two years of work in a STEM doctoral program, a full medical degree, or a trial pilot program.
Crew applications will be accepted until September 17. The full list of requirements and details on how to apply can be found. on the NASA website.