Do you thrive in social isolation? NASA is looking for people to spend 8 months locked in a Russian lab for a new experiment.
When humans return to the moon and travel to Mars, they will need to be prepared for long-duration space travel and even longer stays on these far-off destinations. Currently, NASA’s Artemis program aims to land humans on the moon for the first time since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission landed in 1972.
While the moon is the main goal of NASA’s Artemis program, the agency’s larger goal is to send crewed missions to Mars. But long-term space travel and habitation won’t be easy. Such missions will present both physical and mental challenges as astronauts work to not only survive, but perform important scientific research in uniquely difficult environments.
In the upcoming NASA-Russia experiment, which builds on a previous four-month-long study from 2019, a crew will live in isolation in a closed facility at Russia’s Institute for Biomedical Problems, which is in Moscow, NASA officials said in a statement. This habitat facility was used in 2011 for a notable series of Russian mock Mars missions known as Mars500. During these missions, crews spent 520 and 105 days (on two separate missions) in the facility.
Participants that join the experiment’s crew will spend 8 months inside of a closed facility that, according to the statement will have “environmental aspects similar to those astronauts are expected to experience on future missions to Mars.”
The crew will spend these months living together in isolation and working on scientific research. They will even virtually conduct experiments that future astronauts might be expected to perform on locations like the lunar surface.