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NASA is looking for participants to live in a Mars simulation

Astronaut in ruimteschip

Would you want to live on Mars for a year? Well, you can! Sort of. NASA is looking for people to live in a Mars simulator in Texas for a whole year as part of an experiment. 


  • simulation is a copy of a process, system or event that could happen in the real world, but it’s not real. It’s a model that’s used to test or predict things.
  • When you experience environmental stressors, it means you experience things that are challenging about your environment. For example, environmental stressors on Mars could be extreme temperatures, wind, lack of water, or sandstorms.
  • Your resources are things you need to survive or to complete a task, for example materials you can make things from.
  • When you participate in something, it means to take part in an activity. When you take part in an activity, you are a participant
  • When you have technical qualifications, it means you have a degree in a technical subject or have experience in a technical profession such as engineering.
  • Someone who easily changes their behaviour to new circumstances or people is an adaptable person.
  • When you compromise, you make a deal with someone where you both gain something, but neither person gets everything they want.

Watch until 01:45.

1 The Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analogue Mission (CHaPEA) project is looking for new participants to test what it’s like to live on Mars. What will these participants be expected to do? There are multiple correct answers.

A. Build a simulator in Texas using new technologies.

B: Live inside a simulator that recreates Mars for one year.

C: Experience the challenges of the Mars environment.

D: Live off limited resources.

E: Lose contact with the outside world. 

F: Communicate with the Mars Space Station.

2 Christiane Heinicke is being interviewed for this news report. What is her experience with this kind of research? Fill in the missing words.

Coordinator – landscape – participant – researcher – simulation – simulator – suit

She is a […] at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity in Bremen, and the Scientific […] of the Initiative for Humans on Mars. She was a […] in a similar […] a few years ago. She lived in a […] on a volcanic […] in Hawaii, which was very similar to Mars. The conditions were tough: she had to wear a heavy space […] every time she went outside. 

Watch from 01:45 until 02:55.

3 Which personality traits is NASA looking for in participants? Mention at least two. 

Watch from 02:55 to the end of the video. 

4 What was something that surprised Christiane Heinicke about staying in the NASA simulator for a whole year?

A: You start missing the feeling of wind and sunshine on your skin. 

B: That it was much more important to work together well than it was to have technical qualifications. 

C: You can have the same discussions again and again without coming to a solution that makes everyone happy.

D: That it took 20 minutes to get a message from earth, and how hard that would be.

5 Christiane says she would definitely want to do another simulation. What reasons does she give for this? Name at least one.

6 What would you find most challenging about this experience? Explain your answer. Write your answer in one or two full sentences.

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