We may or may not be qualified by now...

By Andrea Romano
May 22, 2020
eroded layers in Shalbatana Valles, Mars
An image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter depicting layers of erosion on the surface of Mars.
| Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s next mission to Mars may not be far off — and there’s something you may be able to do to help.

According to NASA's job description, the organization is looking for “highly motivated” U.S. citizens to assist in an eight-month study on the “physiological and psychological effects of isolation" — something we've all become familiar with to a certain extent.

The new study is a continuation of a four-month study conducted in 2019. Chosen participants will be asked to live together in Moscow, Russia, and expect to experience conditions similar that a space crew for future missions to Mars and the moon would endure. The study is particularly in preparation for the upcoming Artemis mission, which hopes to put the first woman and next man on the moon, NASA said.

Applicants should be healthy, between 30-55 years old, proficient in both English and Russian, and have either an M.S., PhD., or M.D. degree, or military officer training. Participants with Bachelor’s degrees with other certain qualifications, including military or professional experience, will also be considered.

In addition, all participants must undergo a two-week quarantine, even if they are not feeling any symptoms of COVID-19, before the study to make sure they are not sick. NASA says in the statement that it will “proactively monitor the coronavirus pandemic for any potential effects on the mission.”

During the study, participants will be using virtual reality and perform robotic operations to simulate the tasks that a real spaceflight crew will be encountering on a future lunar mission, according to the statement by NASA.

It is unclear how many crew members the organization is looking for. Compensation will depend on whether or not a candidate is associated with NASA or is a NASA employee or contractor.