NASA is holding a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all you space enthusiasts out there. It’s taking applications to send four astronauts to live on Mars for a year. According to its website, to prepare for the real-life challenges of future missions to Mars, NASA will study how these individuals react under the rigor of a long-duration, ground-based simulation.

This Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog mission will send four astronauts to live and work inside the Mars Due Alpha. A 3D-printed, 1,700-square-foot module made by ICON. While living in this habitat, astronauts will experience simulated challenges of a mission to Mars like resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors.

“The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface,” said lead scientist Grace Douglas, for NASA’s Advanced Food Technology research effort at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”

Other tasks will include simulated spacewalks, virtual reality robotic controls, exchanging communications, and other scientific research. To participate, candidates must meet NASA’s strict requirements:

  • Participants must be healthy, motivated US citizens and permanent residents who are non-smokers and ages 33 to 55. They must be proficient in English to communicate between the crew and mission control.
  • Participants must have a master’s degree in a STEM field (engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical, or computer science) from an accredited institution with two years of professional STEM experience or a minimum of 1,000 hours piloting an aircraft. Participants who’ve completed two years toward a doctoral program in STEM or military officer training bachelor of science in a STEM field may also be considered.
  • Participants have until 5:00 PM CST on Sept. 17, 2021, to submit their application.

For more information on applying, qualifications, and the application process, you can visit NASA’s website. For more information on the Mars analog mission, visit here.