NASA Seeks Volunteers for Year-Long Mars Simulation

Those who thrive on extreme challenges have a fantastic opportunity from NASA. Friday brought news that the space agency is looking for volunteers for its second annual simulated Mars mission known as the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA 2). Beginning in spring 2025, the four chosen crew members will live in a 3D-printed, 1,700-square-foot habitat in Houston for the duration of the mission. NASA is accepting applications on the CHAPEA website from now until April 2. The endeavor is not pro bono, but the exact compensation for participants has not been disclosed by NASA.

The Mars Dune Alpha habitat, located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, is specifically intended to recreate the conditions that future visitors may encounter on Mars; where resources are scarce and the environment is brutal. At present, a crew is in residence as part of the initial CHAPEA mission, which is well over halfway through its 378-day schedule. Crew members will take on a variety of tasks, including maintaining the habitat and growing crops, whilst there. An additional 1,200-square-foot sandbox is also attached to the habitat for practice spacewalks.

To be considered for the program, candidates must be a US citizen aged between 30 and 55, fluent in English, and possess a master’s degree in a STEM field. They should also have a minimum of two years of professional experience, at least a thousand hours of aircraft piloting, or two years of work toward a PhD in a STEM field. Also, candidates without a master’s degree may be eligible, depending on their professional experience. This second mission, CHAPEA 2, is one of three that NASA has planned for this program. The first mission kicked off on June 25, 2023.