May 16, 2022

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This is Mars Dune Alpha, the training stage for astronauts who want to travel to Mars

This is Mars Dune Alpha, the training stage for astronauts who want to travel to Mars

NASA asks volunteers to live in confinement for a year pretending to be on Mars

NASA, as the US agency responsible for space travel, is one of the most important international entities in the world, considering its influence on the planning, creation and dispatch of missions beyond Earth. This agency is credited with the victory over its Russian counterpart in 1969 When he sent the team of men who became the first humans to set foot on the moon in all of history.

Of course, this is a milestone that today, 32 years later, continues to pave the way for humans in their quest to conquer outer space. However, as time passes and technology advances greater and greater, NASA scientists begin to dream of new feats, as happened with the team around the Apollo 11 mission, that will catapult them into the history books. Mars appears to be the best option.

Several decades ago, NASA, along with other space agencies such as China, sent a series of robots known as ‘rovers’ which are nothing more than exploration machines sent to Mars to collect and analyze information about this planet.

With this data, organizations have two main goals: First, find possible information that could prove the existence of life on Mars, both in the past and in the present; The second is to know the climatic and geographical conditions of the red planet so that in the future we can send manned expeditions that can develop life there.

Although the first has resulted in many interesting discoveries, such as the presence of mud that would prove the existence of large bodies of water, which, millions of years ago, could have served as a vital fluid for possible living organisms on Mars, the second is, Without a doubt, the goal that has more options to be achieved in the near future.

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This was illustrated by NASA through the creation of the space known as Mars Alpha Sand Dunes, which aims to recreate the living conditions that humans who dare to travel to Mars can encounter.

According to this organization, this habitat was developed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and is part of Theoretical Peer Exploration of Crew Health and Performance (CHAPEA), a series of missions that include “three simulations of the surface of Mars for a year,” each with a team of four people and two surrogates.

Now, the interesting thing about this project, other than the fact that it will be a test of what we can live on Mars, are the materials that Mars Dune Alpha is built with: 3D printing.

A visual representation on Mars of the Mars Dune Rover
A visual representation on Mars of the Mars Dune Rover

“Life on Mars Alpha Sand Dunes is like the expected experience for those who live in a future habitat on Mars. 3D printed habitat layout is designed to provide separate areas within habitats for living and workingNASA explained through a document posted on its website.

Likewise, the agency indicated that the use of 3D technology was chosen, taking into account the ease of portability and the impeccable architectural results that can be achieved with this tool.

“Future space exploration settlements have the ability to 3D print with additive building technology to eliminate the need to release large amounts of building materials on multiple flights, which is prohibitively expensive.”

Regarding technical data, NASA indicated that the 3D printing technology used to build the habitat is based on The next generation of Vulcan building system from ICON, which contains an advanced printing software that can transform a lavacrete (materials of choice) into a perfectly functional 1,700 sq ft (518 sq m) architectural work.

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Finally, make it clear that Mars Dune Alpha includes Four private rooms, a medical station, common rooms, work stations for each crew member, food growing stations as well as some kitchens.

It should be remembered that NASA launched its first call for CHAPEA a few weeks ago, which will run until September 17, when Four people will be chosen to live for one year on Mars Dune Alpha.

However, not everyone can be selected to take this test of life on Mars, as they must be “healthy and motivated US citizens or non-smoking permanent residents, Those between the ages of 30 and 55 who speak English fluently For effective crew communication and mission control.”

In addition, they will be asked Master’s degree in engineering, mathematics, biology, physical or computer science And they are graduates of a recognized institution. Finally, they must have a minimum of two years of experience in their scientific discipline or at least one thousand flight hours record.

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