NASA is recruiting people who do well in isolation to become part of the research that will help train astronauts and better prepare the future manned mission Artemis. So, if you think you can resist living in a capsule for at least 45 days, then NASA’s Analog Studies are your chance to have the experience of your lifetime. If you can do it for a year, then you are a real treasure.
Artemis is going to be the first crewed mission to fly to the Moon after the last Apollo, in 1972. In 2024, a man and a woman will go mining on the lunar south pole. It is a complex long-term program that plans to have people living on the Moon for long periods of time.
A surface lunar outpost aka Foundation Habitat and a Mobile Habitat will be set on the surface of the Moon by 2028. Also, by 2030, NASA hopes a trip will be made from the Moon to the orbit of Mars. So, Artemis is quite a promise!
The Analog Studies
Presuming that everything goes well technologically, there is one more important perspective that needs to be kept under control: human safety. Since it has never been done before, scientists don’t have much knowledge about how humans are going to deal with the process.
No one can estimate how living in isolation in a capsule, or in a habitat on the Moon for a year can affect psychology and physiology.
Sure, it can be compared to living on the ISS, but the Moon is 384.400 kilometers from Earth. The 400 kilometers distance between Earth and the ISS wouldn’t make a fair comparison. The psychological impact couldn’t be the same.
Also, astronauts that go to the ISS don’t stay there for longer than six months. The mission on the Moon will take much longer. This is why research is needed, and this is where you come in.
What does it take to be part of the studies?
If the breakdown has helped you discover that there s a Robinson Crusoe hiding inside of you, and you think you have it in you to take the part to the professional level, and you want to audition for it, then you should know there are rules.
It depends on the type of study you want to apply to: the light version or the hard-core one. The requests common for both of them are: age (you must be 30 to 55 years old), health (you must be in good shape both physically and mentally), and you can’t be a smoker. If you made it this far, then here are your choices:
HERA (Human Exploration Research Analog) is the light 45 days study. You must be a US citizen for this one. You’ll be one of 4 members of a crew, and you will go through the experience in a capsule located at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.
NEK is the hard-core version. If you think you are up 4 or 8 months, or a year (even better) of living in complete isolation than this is the study for you. But only if you are an English and Russian speaker because this part of the program takes place at the NEK facility in Moscow, Russia.
If you’ve made it this far with their requests then there’s more: you better have “an advanced educational degree, professional experience or completion of military officer training” that can demonstrate your technical skills. It seems you won’t just stay in a capsule doing nothing but trying not to go cuckoo.