NASA has announced a search for candidates for a one-year analog mission in a habitat that mimics life on a distant planet resembling Mars. A series of experiments will begin in the fall of 2022.
“As NASA moves further into space, the experience of astronauts will change. In preparation for the real challenges of future missions to Mars, NASA will study how highly motivated people respond to the harsh conditions of long-term ground-based simulations, ”the space agency said.
The mission was named “An analogue of the study of the health and performance of the crew.” It includes three year-long simulations of the surface of Mars located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Researchers will explore methods and technologies to prevent and address potential problems during future human missions to the Moon and Mars.
These tests are essential for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of life on the Martian surface, NASA said. “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and confront the physical and mental challenges that astronauts will face before going to Mars.”
Each mission will include four crew members. They will live and work in a 3D printed module called Mars Dune Alpha. The habitat will mimic the challenges of a Mars mission, including resource constraints, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors. Crew missions can include simulating spacewalk, scientific research, using virtual reality and robotic controls, and messaging with each other.