The cheapest ticket to space costs $ 450,000 — for this money, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic offers a seat in a spacecraft that reaches the bottom of what is called outer space. But you can imagine yourself in unearthly conditions: NASA will choose 12 people who would spend a year at the Martian station – more precisely, in the simulator of the Martian station.
The task of the simulator, which will of course be located on Earth, is to simulate the conditions that might arise on a real base. NASA hopes to create habitable spaces on Mars and the Moon in the 2030s. A single flight to Mars takes six to eight months.
There will be three teams in total, four people each. Each team will have to spend a whole year on Mars.
The “Martian” space will be 3D printed. The total area of the simulacrum base will be 158 sq. m. This room is called Mars Dune Alpha.
“Colonists” will have to survive a variety of tests that are supposed to be expected by real Martian explorers: resource constraints – food, water or air; equipment failure; personal communication difficulties; a break in communications with the Earth, etc.
NASA promises that each of the “colonists” at the base will have their own personal space. The base will also be equipped with medical equipment and medicines, and an area for growing food is supposed to be there.
“Colonists” will be allowed to arrange the space according to their own ideas of convenience and beauty: move furniture, set light and temperature conditions, etc.
The research tasks of the “colonists” are “going beyond the living space”, conducting scientific experiments, controlling robots and working in virtual space, as well as establishing and maintaining internal communications.
Applicants for a place at the base must be US residents between the ages of 30 and 55 and have a degree in mathematics, engineering or science; Pilot experience will also be sufficient. Candidates must be healthy people and not have allergies, that is, meet the same requirements that NASA imposes on astronauts.
This is far from the first experience of creating a base with “Martian” conditions. In 2010–2011, volunteers from Russia, China and Europe spent 520 days at the simulator station. The American “Martian base” operated from 2013 to 2017, the “colonists” spent five full cycles, the sixth had to be interrupted – one of the volunteers made a short circuit and was hospitalized.