NASA Searching For Mars Simulator Volunteers

Do you ever wish you could experience life on Mars?

There is an opportunity to experience life on the red planet in a NASA-run simulation. The space agency recruits people to spend a year in a Mars simulator to train for future human exploration.

According to NASA, four volunteers will be housed in a 1,700-square-foot Mars simulation as part of the second of three missions. The trips, known as CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog), are conducted at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in a Mars habitat that was 3D manufactured.

A future Mars settlement with distinct living and working quarters is modeled in the Mars Dune Alpha simulation. Each volunteer has accommodations and workstations, a medical station, lounge spaces, a galley, and stations for producing food.

Resources will be scarce, much like they are on real Mars. Participating volunteers will be required to tend to the habitat, cultivate crops, operate robots, and even embark on virtual space treks. Not only will they face the planet’s usual natural stresses, but they will also face equipment breakdowns and communication delays.

Those interested may submit their applications until April 2, 2025, with the ground mission starting in the spring of that year. Anyone between the ages of 30 and 55 who is a “motivated” citizen or permanent resident of the United States is eligible.

Speaking English and not smoking are requirements.

A master’s degree in engineering, mathematics, biology, or a related field and relevant job experience is also required, as is a minimum of two years of doctorate study in the appropriate fields or participation in a test pilot program.

Another possible qualification is 1,000 hours of flying experience. Additional qualifications, such as a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline, four years of work experience, or military service, may be required.

It is possible to repay volunteers for their mission work.

NASA is learning a lot about how to keep CHAPEA healthy and performing well on Mars missions from the first flight.