US space agency Nasa is recruiting four people to live in a simulated Martian exploration habitat in order to prepare them for the real-life challenges of future missions to the red planet.
"Mars is calling! NASA is seeking applicants for participation as a crew member during the first one-year analog mission in a habitat to simulate life on a distant world, set to begin in Fall 2022", a press release stated.
Nasa is planning three of these missions -- known as Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog -- with the first one starting in fall (September 1-November 30) next year.
Nasa started taking applications for recruitment of participants to live for a year in Mars Dune Alpha, a 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat created by a 3D-printer that is inside a building at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface” said Grace Douglas, lead scientist for NASA’s Advanced Food Technology research effort at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”
Each mission will consist of four crew members living and working 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, including resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors. Crew tasks may include simulated spacewalks, scientific research, use of virtual reality and robotic controls, and exchanging communications. The results will provide important scientific data to validate systems and develop solutions.
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