NASA Is Looking for Applicants to Test Its Mars Simulator for One Year

Live and Work Inside a Mars-Like Habitat at Johnson Space Center in Houston


One day, we may inhabit Mars.

Until then, we need to know what it would be like to inhabit Mars. And, apparently, that entails more than just rewatching Matt Damon in "The Martian."

So NASA is seeking four volunteers to participate in a simulated one-year Mars surface mission, wherein you'll live and work inside a 1,700-square-foot, 3D-printed habitat based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, applications are live through April 2, with the mission kicking off next spring.


The habitat, called the Mars Dune Alpha, simulates the challenges of a mission on Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failures, communication delays, and other environmental stressors. Crew tasks include simulated spacewalks, robotic operations, habitat maintenance, exercise, and crop growth.

Naturally, there are some requirements to make the cut. Applicants must be healthy U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are non-smokers, 30-55 years old, and proficient in English.

Crew selection will follow standard NASA criteria for astronaut candidate applicants. They prioritize people with a master’s degree or extensive work experience in a STEM field. Other avenues to selection include those who've completed a minimum of one thousand hours piloting an aircraft, and people who've completed military officer training.

It should go without saying, but an ability to live for one year in a 1,700-square-foot habitat with three other people and, we assume, an absence of things like a sushi bar and spa, is also required.

So you may just want to hold out for an invite from Bezos.

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