Do you want to pretend you live on Mars? For a whole year? Apply now


Want to find your inner Matt Damon and pretend you’re isolated on Mars for a year? NASA has a job for you.

In preparation for the eventual dispatch of astronauts to Mars, NASA began accepting applications for four people live in Mars Dune Alpha for a year. That’s a 1,700 square foot Mars habitat created by a 3D printer and located in a building at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The paid volunteers will perform a simulated Mars reconnaissance mission with space walks, limited communication at home, limited food and resources, and equipment failures.

NASA is planning three of these experiments, with the first scheduled to start next fall. The food will all be ready-to-eat space food and no windows are planned for the moment. Some plants are grown, but not potatoes like in the movie “The Martian”. Damon played the stranded astronaut Mark Watney, who survived on Spuds.

“We want to understand how people work in them,” said Senior Scientist Grace Douglas. “We consider realistic Mars situations.”

That Application process Open on Friday and they are not looking for anyone. Requirements are rigorous, including a master’s degree in a science, engineering, or math field, or piloting experience. Only American citizens or permanent residents of the United States are eligible. Applicants must be between 30 and 55 years of age, be in good physical condition, have no nutritional problems and not be 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’s a better experiment if the participants are more like the people who will actually fly to Mars. Earlier Russian efforts on an alleged Mars mission called Mars 500 did not end well in some cases because people were too much like ordinary people, he said.

That could be great for the right person, said Hadfield, who spent five months in orbit on the International Space Station in 2013, where he was Played the guitar and sang a cover video from David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.

“Just think how much you can catch up with Netflix,” he said. “If you have a musical instrument there, you could go in there knowing nothing and come out as a concert musician if you want to.”

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

Attitude is key, said Hadfield, who will be releasing a novel “The Apollo Murders” this fall. He said attendees had to be like Damon’s Watney character: “Super knowledgeable, resourceful and not relying on other people to be comfortable.”


Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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