NASA seeks participants for simulated yearlong Mars mission

Shawn Knight

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A unique staycation: Looking to "get away" for an extended period? Does a year-long simulated vacation on Mars tickle your fancy? If so, NASA wants to hear from you. The space agency is looking for another batch of participants to live in its simulated Mars colony. The second of three planned simulations here on Earth, CHAPEA (short for Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog) is set to begin in the spring of 2025. The goal of the mission is to help NASA achieve a better understanding of what life on Mars will eventually be like for the first human visitors.

NASA is seeking healthy US citizens (or permanent residents) who are between the age of 30 and 55, don't smoke, and speak English, for what it calls a unique and rewarding adventure. Applicants must also meet certain NASA astronaut criteria, such as having a master's degree in a STEM field with at least two years of professional experience, or a minimum of 1,000 hours piloting an aircraft.

Selected individuals will live inside a 1,700-square-foot 3D-printed habitat at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston for one year, and will work as part of a four-person crew.

During their time in the Mars Dune Alpha habitat, participants will experience the same sort of tasks and stressful situations that real astronauts on Mars might one day face including limited resources, communications delays, and equipment failures. Crew members will also be responsible for conducting simulated spacewalks, growing crops, exercising, and maintaining the habitat – again, just as real astronauts would on the Red Planet.

NASA describes the gig as a volunteer program, although the agency does add that compensation for participating in the mission is available (but will be discussed during the candidate screening process).

The first CHAPEA crew is currently more than half way through their year-long mission, having reached the 200-day mark on January 11. That four-person crew entered the habitat on June 25, 2023, and are scheduled to exit on July 6 of this year.

Interested parties have until April 2 to submit their application.

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It sounds like they can't bork this current iteration up like they did Biosphere 2. I wonder when they'll try to simulate to that level.
 
" Applicants must also meet certain NASA astronaut criteria, such as having a master's degree in a STEM field with at least two years of professional experience, or a minimum of 1,000 hours piloting an aircraft."

Sadly, not many homeless people meet these criteria.
 
" Applicants must also meet certain NASA astronaut criteria, such as having a master's degree in a STEM field with at least two years of professional experience, or a minimum of 1,000 hours piloting an aircraft."

Sadly, not many homeless people meet these criteria.
Maybe, but they usually have more than 1000 hours logged piloting through hardship, desperation and phycological rigors, gotta count for something.
 
1700 sqft with small rooms, with likely a few people you would rather not be with.... Pass. All it takes is one bad habit to make a miserable year. Like someone who chews loudly. At first, it's all good. Then after a while you just wanna.... LOL.
 
Nah, they don't care about rules.
Why would they? The rules of society made them homeless.

But, anywau, so what's probably 16-18 years ago I used to help feed homeless people in my hometown. Nearly all of them are severely mentally ill. Not necessarily always in a bad way, but there is a reason they ended up homeless. When I lived in Florida I met plenty of normal homeless people, but up north, where I'm from, it takes a special type of person to be homeless in a northern winter.

We definitely have a housing crisis and a homelessness crisis, but we need some real science to be done and we real scientists to do it.
 
Why would they? The rules of society made them homeless.

But, anywau, so what's probably 16-18 years ago I used to help feed homeless people in my hometown. Nearly all of them are severely mentally ill. Not necessarily always in a bad way, but there is a reason they ended up homeless. When I lived in Florida I met plenty of normal homeless people, but up north, where I'm from, it takes a special type of person to be homeless in a northern winter.

We definitely have a housing crisis and a homelessness crisis, but we need some real science to be done and we real scientists to do it.
Feels like the right time to think of root reasons for that. And solution. Just not money printing because we might not survive another "help" in this form due to inflation
 
Feels like the right time to think of root reasons for that. And solution. Just not money printing because we might not survive another "help" in this form due to inflation
It's already too late, the interest payment on our national debt is now greater then the GDP. A 100% tax rate couldn't save us. I did have a brush homelessness myself and I lived in my SUV for 6 months. But that had nothing to do with my finances, I had wanted to do the whole van life thing when I was a teenager and I lived in my car when I technically still lived with my parents.

Honestly, I'm considering doing it full time again because I already travel for 9 months a year for work. It was one thing when rent in Pittsburgh was $500/ but now everything is $1200 on the cheap side and I'm looking at moving to Arizona in a year anyway. Beginning of March I'm about to have the next 9 months on the road. Why pay $1500+/m for a place when I'm living out of hotels on the east coast? As it is, I have enough days that I sleep in my truck on jobsites.
 
Great stuff, so when are you signing up?
I don't meet their entry requirements, so never? Even if I did, I am doubtful I'd be willing to sacrifice that much time out of my life away from family and loved ones. Nothing to do with it being "boring" or "better things to do" though. It sounds very interesting to be a part of and will likely be of great use in planning future explorations.
 
Take me in please... I don't want to cope with all the nonsense in the world nowadays. Maybe I can beat tetris and get my reading up to date also. And lots of sleeping. I bet I can sleep half this period.
 
I don't meet their entry requirements, so never? Even if I did, I am doubtful I'd be willing to sacrifice that much time out of my life away from family and loved ones. Nothing to do with it being "boring" or "better things to do" though. It sounds very interesting to be a part of and will likely be of great use in planning future explorations.
So what you are saying is: time with family and loved ones is better (things to do) than a year as a research subject.

Congrats on having good priorities! Even if you have a strange bias against admitting some things better than others.

But this study is of marginal scientific value. In addition to the countless studies in psychology and related fields, they have been doing these studies (e.g., a month in a sim spaceship to Mars) for years. Also, they have the real world data from the ISS. But, hey, props the researcher that convinced the government to give them a bunch of money to run yet another study.
 
So what you are saying is: time with family and loved ones is better (things to do) than a year as a research subject.

Congrats on having good priorities! Even if you have a strange bias against admitting some things better than others.

But this study is of marginal scientific value. In addition to the countless studies in psychology and related fields, they have been doing these studies (e.g., a month in a sim spaceship to Mars) for years. Also, they have the real world data from the ISS. But, hey, props the researcher that convinced the government to give them a bunch of money to run yet another study.
Maybe we're just splitting hairs, but it's not a case of "better". It's a case of prior/existing obligations to them that I wouldn't be able to step away from. It's not something I could commit to over them. That doesn't then make the experiment "boring" or objectively "worse", merely not a viable option.
 
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