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The CHAPEA mission 1 crew (from left: Nathan Jones, Ross Brockwell, Kelly Haston, Anca Selariu) exit a prototype of a pressurized rover and make their way to the CHAPEA facility ahead of their entry into the habitat on June 25, 2023. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel NASA is seeking applicants to participate in its next simulated one-year Mars surface mission to help inform the agency’s plans for human exploration of the Red Planet. The second of three planned ground-based missions called CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog) is scheduled to kick off in spring 2025.
Each CHAPEA mission involves a four-person volunteer crew living and working inside a 1,700-square-foot, 3D-printed habitat based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The habitat, called the Mars Dune Alpha, simulates the challenges of a mission on Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failures, communication delays, and other environmental stressors. Crew tasks include simulated spacewalks, robotic operations, habitat maintenance, exercise, and crop growth.
NASA is looking for healthy, motivated U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are non-smokers, 30-55 years old, and proficient in English for effective communication between crewmates and mission control. Applicants should have a strong desire for unique, rewarding adventures and interest in contributing to NASA’s work to prepare for the first human journey to Mars.
The deadline for applicants is Tuesday, April 2.
Crew selection will follow additional standard NASA criteria for astronaut candidate applicants. A master’s degree in a STEM field such as engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical or computer science from an accredited institution with at least two years of professional STEM experience or a minimum of one thousand hours piloting an aircraft is required. Candidates who have completed two years of work toward a doctoral program in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, completed a medical degree, or a test pilot program will also be considered. With four years of professional experience, applicants who have completed military officer training or a bachelor of science degree in a STEM field may be considered.
Compensation for participating in the mission is available. More information will be provided during the candidate screening process.
As NASA works to establish a long-term presence for scientific discovery and exploration on the Moon through the Artemis campaign, CHAPEA missions provide important scientific data to validate systems and develop solutions for future missions to the Red Planet. With the first CHAPEA crew more than halfway through their yearlong mission, NASA is using research gained through the simulated missions to help inform crew health and performance support during Mars expeditions.
Under NASA’s Artemis campaign, the agency will establish the foundation for long-term scientific exploration at the Moon, land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the lunar surface, and prepare for human expeditions to Mars for the benefit of all.
For more about CHAPEA, visit:
Anna Schneider/Laura Sorto
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Last Updated Feb 16, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters View the full article
NASA Science Live: Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Tribute & Legacy
Squishy Robotics’ Tensegrity Sensor Robots help first responders determine their approach to a disaster scene. Firefighters used the robots during a subway attack exercise at the 2021 Unmanned Tactical Application Conference to detect gas leaks and other hazards. Credits: FLYMOTION LLC As NASA innovates for the benefit of all, what the agency develops for exploration has the potential to evolve into other technologies with broader use here on Earth. Many of those examples are highlighted in NASA’s annual Spinoff book including dozens of NASA-enabled medical innovations, as well other advancements.
This year’s publication, NASA’s 2024 Spinoff, features several commercialized technologies using the agency’s research and development expertise to impact everyday lives, including:
Spherical “squishy” robots capable of dropping into dangerous situations before first responders enter “Digital winglets” aircraft-routing technology that’s enabling increased fuel efficiency and smoother flights Lighter, more durable disc brake designs that produce less dust than traditional disc brakes Computer software to help businesses and communities cope with and recover from natural disasters like wildfires New 3D printing methods to additively manufacture rocket engines and other large aluminum parts “As we continue to push new frontiers and do the unimaginable, NASA’s scientists and engineers are constantly innovating and advancing technologies,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “A critical part of our mission is to quickly get those advances into the hands of companies and entrepreneurs who can use them to grow their businesses, open new markets, boost the economy, and raise the quality of life for everyone.”
The medical innovations include the first wireless arthroscope – a small tube carrying a camera inserted into the body during surgery – to receive clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which benefited from NASA’s experience with spacesuits and satellite batteries. Technologies for diagnosing illnesses like the coronavirus, hepatitis, and cancer have also stemmed from NASA’s space exploration and science endeavors. Even certain types of toothpaste originated from the agency’s efforts to grow crystals for electronics.
Additional 2024 Spinoff highlights include developments under NASA’s Artemis campaign, like a small, rugged video camera used to improve aircraft safety and a new method for detecting defects or damage in composite materials. Meanwhile, another spinoff story details the latest benefits of fuel cell technology created more than 50 years ago for Apollo, which is now poised to support terrestrial power grids based on renewable energy.
The book also features several technologies NASA has identified as promising future spinoffs and information on how to license agency tech. Since the 1970s, thousands of NASA technologies have found their way into many scientific and technical disciplines, impacting nearly every American industry.
“As NASA’s longest continuously running program, we continue to increase the number of technologies we license year-over-year while streamlining the development path from the government to the commercial sector,” said Daniel Lockney, Technology Transfer program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These commercialization success stories continually prove the benefits of transitioning agency technologies into private hands, where the real impacts are made.”
Spinoffs are part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and its Technology Transfer program. Tech Transfer is charged with finding broad, innovative applications for NASA-developed technology through partnerships and licensing agreements, ensuring agency investments benefit the nation and the world.
To read the latest issue of Spinoff, visit:
Last Updated Jan 29, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
Space Technology Mission Directorate Spinoffs Technology Transfer View the full article
NASA/Joel Kowsky The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s aerial prototype is seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steve F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va, Dec. 15, 2023. The prototype, which was the first to prove it was possible to fly in a simulated Mars environment at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was donated to the museum.
Ingenuity’s history-making mission on Mars recently came to an end after one or more of its rotor blades sustained damage during landing, rendering it incapable of flight. Originally designed as a technology demonstration to perform up to five experimental test flights over 30 days, the first aircraft on another world operated from the Martian surface for almost three years, performed 72 flights, and flew more than 14 times farther than planned while logging more than two hours of total flight time.
Join the celebration of Ingenuity’s successful mission by using the #ThanksIngenuity hashtag on social media.
Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
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3 Min Read Landing On Mars: A Tricky Feat!
Perseverance Rover’s Entry, Descent and Landing Profile: This illustration shows the events that occur in the final minutes of the nearly seven-month journey that NASA’s Perseverance rover takes to Mars. In honor of Ingenuity’s final flight on The Red Planet, learn from Dave Prosper about what it takes to land on Mars.
The Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter landed in Mars’s Jezero crater on February 18, 2021, NASA’s latest mission to explore the red planet. Landing on Mars is an incredibly difficult feat that has challenged engineers for decades: while missions like Curiosity have succeeded, its surface is littered with the wreckage of many failures as well. Why is landing on Mars so difficult?
Mars presents a unique problem to potential landers as it possesses a relatively large mass and a thin, but not insubstantial, atmosphere. The atmosphere is thick enough that spacecraft are stuffed inside a streamlined aeroshell sporting a protective heat shield to prevent burning up upon entry – but that same atmosphere is not thick enough to rely on parachutes alone for a safe landing, since they can’t catch sufficient air to slow down quickly enough. This is even worse for larger explorers like Perseverance, weighing in at 2,260 lbs (1,025 kg). Fortunately, engineers have crafted some ingenious landing methods over the decades to allow their spacecraft to survive what is called Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL).
Illustrations of the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) sequences for Viking in 1976, NASA The Viking landers touched down on Mars in 1976 using heat shields, parachutes, and retrorockets. Despite using large parachutes, the large Viking landers fired retrorockets at the end to land at a safe speed. This complex combination has been followed by almost every mission since, but subsequent missions have innovated in the landing segment. The 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission added airbags in conjunction with parachutes and retrorockets to safely bounce its way to a landing on the Martian surface. Then three sturdy “petals” ensured the lander was pushed into an upright position after landing on an ancient floodplain. The Opportunity and Spirit missions used a very similar method to place their rovers on the Martian surface in 2004. Phoenix (2008) and Insight (2018) actually utilized Viking-style landings.
Perseverance Rover’s Entry, Descent and Landing Profile: This illustration shows the events that occur in the final minutes of the nearly seven-month journey that NASA’s Perseverance rover takes to Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech The large and heavy Curiosity rover required extra power at the end to safely land the car-sized rover, and so the daring “Sky Crane” deployment system was successfully used in 2012. After an initial descent using a massive heat shield and parachute, powerful retrorockets finished slowing down the spacecraft to about two miles per hour. The Sky Crane then safely lowered the rover down to the Martian surface using a strong cable. Its job done, the Sky Crane then flew off and crash-landed a safe distance away. Having proved the efficacy of the Sky Crane system, NASA used this same method to attempt a safe landing for Perseverance in February 2021!
To rediscover the Mars 2020 mission, visit: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/
Originally posted by Dave Prosper: December 2021
Last Updated by Kat Troche: January 2024
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