ESA calls for Mars mission volunteers

The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for willing guinea-pigs for an eighteen-month Mars mission. The catch? It’s just a simulation.

Next year, an international crew of six will be locked into a facility in Moscow for a 520-day round-trip to Mars, including a 30-day stay on the martian surface. The aim is to investigate the psychological and medical aspects of a long-duration space mission.

Following a successful 105-day precursor study in July – nobody died or went insane – ESA is now looking for two European candidates and two backups for the full 520-day study, which will follow four months of training.

The program will simulate a 250-day journey to Mars, a 30-day surface exploration phase and 240 days travelling back to Earth. For the ‘surface exploration’, half of the crew will move to the facility’s Martian simulation module, and the hatch will clang shut behind them.
Candidates should be aged between 20 and 50, motivated, in good health and no taller than 185cm, says ESA. They should speak English or Russian and have  worked in medicine, biology, life support systems engineering, computer engineering, electronic engineering or mechanical engineering. ‘Social habits’ will be another criterion – so no nose-picking in the interview, please.

The Call for Candidates is available here. The deadline is 5 November.