‘Mars is calling!’: NASA looks for American applicants for Mars mission

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2021 06:07 PM

The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this image of the Martian surface the day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet and was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars, on November 26, 2018. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via Reuters.
The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this image of the Martian surface the day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet and was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars, on November 26, 2018. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via Reuters.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking for applicants to join their first one-year analog mission, which seeks to simulate life on Mars. 

The agency said the new crew members will be venturing on a new life exploration on the red planet. The program will begin in Fall 2022, NASA said in a statement. 

“As NASA ventures farther into the cosmos, the astronaut experience will change. In preparation for the real-life challenges of future missions to Mars, NASA will study how highly motivated individuals respond under the rigor of a long-duration, ground-based simulation,” it added.

Known as the “Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog,” the series of missions will include 3 one-year Mars surface simulations based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

It will support research to develop methods and technologies to prevent and resolve potential problems on future human spaceflight missions to the Moon and Mars, it said.

“The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface,” said Grace Douglas, lead scientist for NASA’s Advanced Food Technology research effort at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. 

“Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”

NASA said each mission will consist of 4 crew members living and working at Mars Dune Alpha, a 1,7000-square-foot module.

“The habitat will simulate the challenges of a mission on Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors,” the agency said. 

“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,” it added.

The agency will be following the NASA criteria for astronaut candidate applicants for American citizens including experience in the field of science and technology.

“NASA is looking for healthy, motivated U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are non-smokers, age 30 to 55 years old, and proficient in English for effective communication between crew and mission control. Crew selection will follow standard NASA criteria for astronaut candidate applicants,” NASA 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," it added. 

"Candidates who have completed two years of work toward a doctoral program in STEM, or completed a medical degree, or a test pilot program will also be considered. Additionally, with four years of professional experience, applicants who have completed military officer training or a Bachelor of Science in a STEM field may be considered.” 

Interested applicants for the Mars mission may apply here.

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