NASA is recruiting researchers for a year-long simulated mission to Mars on Earth

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This rendering shows a conceptual Mars habitat.

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You can’t go to Mars yet, but some people on Earth will be able to do so. A NASA-conducted mission will imprison four crew members in a 1,700 square foot 3D-printed habitat for one year.

NASA will conduct three of the year-long analog missions designed to mimic the challenges of life on Mars without ever leaving Earth. “The analogs will support research to develop methods and technologies to prevent and resolve potential problems in future manned space missions to the moon and Mars,” the space agency said.

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Applications for the first mission, officially known as the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, are now closed. It will take place in a module called Mars Dune Alpha at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The module will have four private crew quarters, workplaces, medical stations and food growing areas.

Take a look at the habitat and how it was made:


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Four people will spend a year in this 3D printed …

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This is not going to be a vacation. “The habitat will simulate the challenges of a mission on Mars, including resource constraints, equipment failures, communication delays and other environmental stressors,” NASA said.

Participants will follow a “space flight-like diet,” which means that no fast food burgers or pizza deliveries will be offered. Astronauts on the ISS often eat long-life foods despite growing their own edible crops.

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The space agency established a number of criteria. Applicants must be US non-smokers or permanent residents aged 30 to 55 with a Masters degree (or equivalent experience) in a STEM field. You must be able to physically pass an astronaut.

NASA has not yet disclosed the salary scale for pretending to live on Mars for a year.

The first earthbound mission is scheduled to begin in late 2022. This will be an experience for dedicated people who are not afraid of isolation, lack of comfort and long absence from family and friends. But at least the crew will return to the familiar world of Earth when it’s all over.

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