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NASA is looking for volunteers to live in its Mars simulation for a year

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If extreme challenges are your cup of tea, has the perfect opportunity for you. The space agency put out a call on Friday for volunteers to participate in its second yearlong simulated Mars mission, the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA 2). For the duration of the mission, which will start in spring 2025, the four selected crew members will be housed in a 1,700-square-foot 3D-printed habitat in Houston. NASA is accepting applications on the from now through April 2. It’s a paid gig, but NASA hasn’t publicly said how much participants will be compensated.

The Mars Dune Alpha habitat at NASA’s Johnson Space Center is designed to simulate what life might be like for future explorers on the red planet, where the environment is harsh and resources will be limited. There’s a crew currently living and working there as part of the first CHAPEA mission, which is now more than halfway through its 378-day assignment. During their stay, volunteers will perform habitat maintenance and grow crops, among other tasks. The habitat also has a 1,200-square-foot sandbox attached to it for simulated spacewalks.

To be considered, applicants must be a US citizen aged 30-55, speak English proficiently and have a master’s degree in a STEM field, plus at least two years of professional experience, a minimum of one thousand hours piloting an aircraft or two years of work toward a STEM doctoral program. Certain types of professional experience may allow applicants without a master’s to qualify too. CHAPEA 2 is the second of three mission NASA has planned for the program, the first of which began on June 25, 2023.

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