x

Science

Want to Pretend to Live on Mars? For a Whole Year? Apply Now

Want to find your inner Matt Damon and spend a year pretending you are isolated on Mars? NASA has a job for you.

To prepare for eventually sending astronauts to Mars, NASA began taking applications Friday for four people to live for a year in Mars Dune Alpha. That's a 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat, created by a 3D-printer, and inside a building at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The paid volunteers will work a simulated Martian exploration mission complete with spacewalks, limited communications back home, restricted food and resources and equipment failures.

NASA is planning three of these experiments with the first one starting in the fall next year. Food will all be ready-to-eat space food and at the moment there are no windows planned. Some plants will be grown, but not potatoes like in the movie "The Martian." Damon played stranded astronaut Mark Watney, who survived on spuds.

"We want to understand how humans perform in them," said lead scientist Grace Douglas. "We are looking at Mars realistic situations."

 The application process opened Friday and they're not seeking just anybody. The requirements are strict, including a master's degree in a science, engineering or math field or pilot experience. Only American citizens or permanent U.S. residents are eligible. Applicants have to be between 30 and 55, in good physical health with no dietary issues and not prone to motion sickness. 

That shows NASA is looking for people who are close to astronauts, said former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. And, he said. that's a good thing because it is a better experiment if the participants are more similar to the people who will really go to Mars. Past Russian efforts at a pretend Mars mission called Mars 500 didn't end well partly because the people were too much like everyday people, he said.

For the right person this could be great, said Hadfield, who spent five months in orbit in 2013 at the International Space Station, where he played guitar and sang a cover video  of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."

"Just think how much you're going to be able to catch up on Netflix," he said. "If they have a musical instrument there, you could go into there knowing nothing and come out a concert musician, if you want."

There could be "incredible freedom" in a "year away from the demands of your normal life."

Attitude is key, said Hadfield, who has a novel "The Apollo Murders" coming out in the fall. He said the participants need to be like Damon's Watney character: "Super competent, resourceful and not relying on other people to feel comfortable."

RELATED

HONOLULU — Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, has started to erupt for the first time in nearly four decades, prompting volcanic ash and debris to fall nearby, authorities said Monday.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Starts to Erupt, Sending Ash Nearby (Video)

HONOLULU — Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, has started to erupt for the first time in nearly four decades, prompting volcanic ash and debris to fall nearby, authorities said Monday.

NEW YORK — Days after flocking to stores on Black Friday, consumers are turning online for Cyber Monday to score more discounts on gifts and other items that have ballooned in price because of high inflation.

HOUSTON — More than 2 million people in the Houston area were under a boil order notice Monday after a power outage caused low pressure at a water purification plant, officials said.

For Ryan Decker, surviving the holiday shopping season is all about planning ahead.

ATHENS - Greece is rapidly emerging as the key gateway for natural gas in Southeastern Europe, with projects such as the TAP pipeline, the LNG terminal in Revythoussa and the FSRUs in Alexandroupolis, Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said on Monday, addressing the voria.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.