To prepare for sending astronauts to Mars eventually, NASA began taking applications for four people to live for a year in Mars Dune Alpha, a 1,700 square-foot Martian habitat, created by a 3D-printer, and inside a building at Johnson Space Center in Houston. According to KTLA the paid volunteers will work simulated Martian exploration mission complete with spacewalks, limited communications back home, restricted food and resources and equipment failures.
NASA is planning three of these experiments. Food will all be ready-to-eat space food and at the moment there are no windows planned. Some plants will also be grown.
"We want to understand how humans perform in them. We are looking at Mars realistic situations." said lead scientist Grace Douglas.
The requirements are strict, including a master's degree in a science, engineering, or math field or pilot experience. Only American citizens or permanent U.S. residents are eligible. Applicants have to be between 30 and 55, in good physical health with no dietary issues and not prone to motion sickness. Past Russian efforts at a pretend Mars mission called Mars 500 didn't end well partly because the people were too much like everyday people.
"Just think how much you're going to be able to catch up on Netflix. If they have a musical instument there, you could go into there knowing nothing and come out a concert musician. There could be incredible freedom in a year away from demands of your normal life. Attitude is key!" said Canadian astronaut Chris Hadifield who spent five months in orbit in 2013 at the International Space Station, where he played guitar and sang a cover video of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."