NASA chooses two women and two men to simulate a year on Mars

NASA selected four participants, two men and two women, to embark on the agency's first year-long simulated mission in a habitat that recreates conditions for life on Mars.

CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog), is a ground mission that will begin in June at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The mission is the first of three planned year-long Mars surface simulations, during which crew members will live and work in a 3D-printed 5,500-square-foot habitat.

The researchers will simulate the challenges of a human mission to Mars, including resource constraints, equipment failure, communications delays, and other stressful environmental factors.

“The simulation will allow us to collect physical and cognitive performance data to give us more information about the potential impacts of long-duration missions to Mars on crew health and performance,” Grace Douglas, CHAPEA principal investigator, said in a statement. “This information will help NASA make informed decisions to design and plan a successful human mission to Mars.”

NASA is establishing a long-term presence on the Moon for science and exploration via Artemis. The knowledge gained about the Moon and its surroundings will help send the first astronauts to Mars in the future.

Participants were selected through NASA’s 2021 call for applicants. The four crew members are:

  • Kelly Hastonun, Commander. A registered member of the Mohawk Nation of the Great River Six Nations in Canada, Hastonun is a research scientist with experience building models of human disease.
  • Ross Brockwell, flight engineer. A structural engineer and public works’ administrator, his work focuses on infrastructure, building design, operations, and organizational leadership.
  • Nathan Jones, medical officer. Emergency medicine specialist.
  • Alyssa Shannon, science officer, advanced practice nurse.

Source: dpa

(Reference image source: NASA, Europa Press)

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