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NASA Wants To Send 4 People To ‘Mars,’ And You Could Be One Of Them

Community Corner NASA Wants To Send 4 People To ‘Mars,’ And You Could Be One Of Them Volunteers won’t actually be rocketed off to Mars. But their experiences may lay the groundwork for future human travel to the red planet.
NASA is looking for four volunteers for its year-long simulated Mars mission at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Information gathered over the year will inform future human exploration of the red planet. (Shutterstock)
HOUSTON, TX — If you’ve ever dreamed of living on Mars — and who among us hasn’t at least fleetingly entertained the fantasy, if not for ourselves, then for someone on a special list? — NASA is calling your name.
Spoiler alert: As adventurous and fun as it sounds, you won’t actually be rocketed off to Mars. Temper your disappointment: It would take seven or eight months in a very complicated rocket just to get there. And then you have to land the thing. This is more like Mars camp for adults.
Here’s the gig: NASA is seeking four volunteers to crew its year-long simulated Mars mission at Johnson Space Center in Houston. They’ll get to do fun things like walking in space and operating a robot, but also deal with some of the everyday vexations astronauts can face, including equipment failures, resource limitations and communications delays. They’ll live communally in the 3-D printed, 1,700-square-foot Mars Dune Alpha, a simulated spacecraft. Volunteers have regular housekeeping duties. The garden will need tending, too.
Some financial compensation is involved — the deets on that will come during the screening process. The big payoff is the satisfaction of furthering science. Crew members will get a sense of what it would be like to live on Mars, one of the only places in our solar system where scientists believe life may have existed. Human exploration of Mars remains a NASA priority, and what is learned will be applied to those future missions.
NASA says human exploration of the red planet could inform scientists on Earth about its past and present. Like the moon, Mars is a rich destination or scientific discovery and a driver of technologies that could allow humans to travel there and other destinations far from Earth. The positions are open to non-smoking U.S. citizens and permanent residents between the ages of 30-55. NASA said applicants must be proficient in English to ensure effective communication between crewmates and mission control, and should also have a strong interest in contributing to NASA’s work to prepare for the first human journey to Mars, the agency said.
“A master’s degree in a STEM field such as engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical or computer science from an accredited institution with at least two years of professional STEM experience or a minimum of one thousand hours piloting an aircraft is required,” NASA added. The agency will also consider applicants who have completed two years of work toward a doctoral program in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; a medical degree; a test pilot program; military officer training; or a bachelor of science degree in a STEM field with four years of professional experience for the role. Additional criteria and information are found on NASA’s website. Online applications will be accepted until April 2.

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