NASA Onward To Mars: Apply Now for Next Martian Mission

NASA announced an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in space exploration and human factors research CHEPEA, a series of analog missions designed to simulate year-long missions on the Martian surface.

The Mission

CHAPEA, known as “Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog” is a series of analog missions that will simulate year-long stays on the surface of Mars. Throughout the mission, the crew will engage in simulated spacewalks and collect data on various factors, potentially encompassing physical and behavioral health as well as performance metrics. CHEPEA is not a single mission, instead up to this date 3 missions already commenced and are further about to as well.

As per the information from NASA, the CHEPEA analog mission 1 officially commenced on June 25, 2023, marking the inception of NASA’s simulated exploration endeavors. Analog mission 2 is scheduled to commence in 2025, with preparations underway to replicate the Martian environment and challenges faced during extended missions. Following suit, Analog Mission 3 is slated to initiate in 2026, continuing the series of simulated missions aimed at enhancing understanding and preparedness for future human exploration of Mars.

CHAPEA Simulator

Every CHAPEA mission includes a four-person team of volunteers residing and operating within a 1,700-square-foot, 3D-printed habitat located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This habitat, known as Mars Dune Alpha, replicates the obstacles faced during a Martian mission, encompassing constraints on resources, equipment malfunctions, communication lags, and various environmental pressures. Further, the habitat will feature individual crew quarters, a fully equipped kitchen, and designated spaces for medical needs, recreational activities, fitness routines, work assignments, and crop cultivation. Additionally, it will house a technical workspace and two bathrooms for the crew’s use.

The 1,700-square-foot CHAPEA habitat contains individual living quarters for four volunteer crew members. Source

The 1,700-square-foot CHAPEA habitat contains individual living quarters for four volunteer crew members


To gather the most precise data during the analog mission, it will be structured to closely mimic the conditions on Mars, incorporating environmental stressors like limited resources, isolation, equipment malfunctions, and demanding workloads. Key activities for the crew during the analog will encompass simulated spacewalks with virtual reality, communication tasks, crop cultivation, meal preparation and consumption, physical exercise, personal hygiene, maintenance duties, personal time, scientific experiments, and rest periods.

NASA Calling for Volunteers

NASA seeks healthy, motivated U.S. citizens or permanent residents aged 30-55, proficient in English for clear communication with crewmates and mission control. Candidates should be non-smokers with a keen interest in unique, fulfilling adventures and a commitment to contributing to NASA’s preparations for the inaugural human voyage to Mars. The application deadline is Tuesday, April 2. Are you interested? Apply

NASA is presently seeking applicants to participate in its forthcoming simulated one-year mission on the Martian surface, intending to refine the agency’s strategies for human exploration of Mars. The second phase of the CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog) program is scheduled to begin in spring 2025.

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