The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is seeking volunteers who will spend eight months locked up in a lab located in Russia's capital Moscow as part of NASA’s study on social isolation. Participants will live in small groups and the isolation may last up to a year. The project is a collaborative effort between NASA and the Institute for Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
According to NASA's statement, the simulation "will help NASA learn about the physiological and psychological effects of isolation and confinement on humans in preparation for Artemis exploration missions to the Moon and future long-duration missions to Mars".
NASA said that all participants will be paid for the experiment. However, not everyone interested can be part of the study. Candidates should be US citizens of 30-55 years of age and speak both Russian and English fluently. They must hold an M.S., PhD, or M.D. or have completed military officer training. Nonetheless, the agency clarified that US citizens with a bachelor’s degree and relevant education and experience may also be considered.
The participants will be challenged with environmental aspects that are similar to those expected on future space missions. Living in a small crew, they will conduct scientific research with the help of virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
"Results from ground-based missions like this help NASA prepare for the real-life challenges of space exploration and provide important scientific data to solve some of these problems and to develop countermeasures”, NASA said in a statement.
Despite most people being tired of confinement within their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, social media users expressed keen interest in the project.
All i need:— Ahsan (@_Nasha__) May 19, 2020
sign me up— Prinz (@PK40129477) May 19, 2020
The development comes as NASA is working on taking astronauts to the Moon by 2024. If successful, this would be the first time that US astronauts step on the lunar surface since 1972. Together with the European Space Agency and other partners, NASA hopes to establish a permanent presence on Earth’s natural satellite.