Have you looked at all the trouble in the news lately and ever found yourself saying, “I wish I could just get off this rock?” You may just get your chance. NASA has announced that it is accepting applications for Mars colonists!
The space agency is NASA is seriously searching for any “highly motivated” individuals to begin virtual reality simulations of what it would be like to live on Mars, with the hope of recruiting some of them for the real thing!
NASA’s bold new scheme begins with a hi-tech 3D printed module, dubbed Mars Dune Alpha, for applicants to live and adapt to habitats they will encounter on the Red Planet. The project requires applicants to undertake three one-year surface simulations at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston.
“The habitat will simulate the challenges of a mission on Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors,” NASA shared in an official announcement about the initiative.
“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.”
Lead scientist Grace Douglas said researchers wanted to understand how humans would perform in “Mars realistic situations.”
There are some heavy asterisks on NASA’s application form, however. Those wishing to participate in the simulations will need a master’s degree in a STEM field such as engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical, or computer science, with two years of professional STEM experience or a minimum of 1000 hours piloting an aircraft.
The program seeks “healthy, motivated US citizens or permanent residents who are nonsmokers, aged 30 to 55 years old, and proficient in English for effective communication between crew and mission control”.
Smokers are discouraged from applying, and likely anybody who is having a rough time locked in their own home, let alone a 1,700 square ft. enclosure designed to mimic harsh conditions.
Under NASA’s plan, individuals will be able to take part in the futuristic program to potentially build a colony on the neighboring planet.
NASA’s test will aim to find solutions to a wide range of complications space travelers could encounter, including relying on technology for survival and dealing with the mental challenges that come with inter-planet travel.
“The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface,” Ms. Douglas said.