If, more than two months into the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve thought to yourself, “hmmm, living in isolation kinda works for me,” NASA may have just the job for you. The space agency is seeking applicants for a social isolation study to develop methods and technologies for future spaceflight missions to Mars and the moon. Here’s what you need to know about the job we’re now all suddenly much more qualified for than we were a few months ago.
The successful applicants will spent eight months in isolation with a small international crew in Moscow, Russia. The aim of this “analogue mission” is to help NASA learn more about the physical and psychological impact that confinement and isolation has on humans. The research conducted during this time will include performing robotic operations as well as various tasks using virtual reality.
The idea is to use this information to prepare for Artemis exploration missions to the Moon as well as future missions to Mars, which would last for an extended period of time. Participants will be paid for their time in isolation in Russia at different levels, depending upon whether or not they are already associated with NASA.
How to apply
In addition to being willing to spend eight months on a fake mission, applicants must also meet the following requirements:
Between the ages of 30-55
Proficient in both Russian and English languages.
Have a M.S., PhD., M.D. or completion of military officer training. (Though participants with a Bachelor’s degree and other certain qualifications—e.g., relevant additional education, military, or professional experience—may be considered as well.)
For more information, and to apply for the position, visit the NASA website.
What astronauts can teach us about isolation
The point of this NASA study is to learn about how humans deal with living in isolation. A few weeks ago, we took a similar (though reverse) approach at Lifehacker, when writer Rachel Fairbank interviewed former astronaut D. Marshall Porterfield to get pointers on how people who aren’t used to being isolated can cope during this pandemic. His tips included developing a routine, staying active, staying in touch with friends and family and having a purpose. Maybe your purpose can be to prepare for your mission to Mars. Fake mars.