A screenshot of Doctor Manhattan's blue-skinned face from the HBO series Watchmen with the caption

Did you hear the news? The earth is fucked. And if you’re not a ruthless billionaire, chances are you’ll never fly into space. Only a handful of people have dared and lived outside of the Earth’s atmosphere to tell about it, and none of these happy and extremely well-prepared souls (say 574 of them) has ever set foot on another planet. NASA wants to change this by giving willing and able volunteers the opportunity to live in a Martian simulator for a year.

You won’t cook your meals in 1/3 of Earth’s gravity or battle vicious sandstorms on Mars, but you will live in the most Martian-like environment the space agency can develop at their Johnson Space Center in Houston.

How do I apply to live in NASA’s Mars simulator?

The mission is called the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, and it’s not exactly public: applicants must have fairly specialized and advanced expertise in a STEM field, e.g. accredited institution. ”

NASA notes that their selection criteria are broadly the same as those of their astronaut program.which can be seen here if you think you need to consider scientific bonafides. Of course, the Mars simulator is not necessarily open to the public, but U.S. citizens between the ages of 30 and 55 with the required experience in a science or technology field are encouraged to apply.

The purpose of the program is to create a Martian environment on Earth that is as close as possible to the Martian environment in order to better study the living conditions on the Red Planet in case we manage to send a human there (before we can use the Earth’s ability to support life, completely destroy), that is). And if this mission isn’t quite as flashy as some billionaires’ big dreams of one day turning humans into space travel, NASA’s efforts will nonetheless play an important role in our broader exploration of the solar system.

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The mission itself will consist of three separate one-year deployments at the Johnson Space Center. That Space agency describes the living spaces write in more detail:

The 3D-printed living space will include private crew quarters, a kitchen and special areas for medicine, recreation, fitness, work and plant growth, as well as a technical work area and two bathrooms.

The work will include dealing with “environmental stressors such as resource constraints, isolation, equipment failure and significant workloads,” writes NASA. Other activities include simulated virtual reality space walks, “communication, plant growth, meal preparation and consumption, exercise, hygiene activities, maintenance, personal time, science work, and sleep”. Cataloging the data for future missions is also a central task. The three missions will take place in 2022, 2024 and 2025.

The requirements for consideration are pretty strict, so please read on through NASA criteria before submitting an application. For any potential applicant, the dream of fucking into space without actually taking off with a rocket is closer than ever.