2020 is still dragging us along by the collar, and with all that's going on a lot of people just want off this trash planet. That's gotta help explain why all the NASA news about the SpaceX astronaut launch and theories about parallel universes is blowing up right now. Rocketing off to another planet? A timeline that isn't this one? Where do we sign up?
Well... nowhere, for now. But, in the meantime, NASA is asking for qualified individuals to help them make our space travel dreams come true. In an announcement that seems incredibly timely considering the circumstances, the space organization has put out an ad looking for folks willing to flex their social distancing skills in a self-isolation study. Anyone who is eligible will get a chance to stay inside a small, mock spacecraft with a crew for eight months while researchers study the physical and psychological effects of confinement in humans.
Once you're accepted, you get to be part of a simulation emulating space travel to Mars or the moon. You and your international crew will do "scientific research, [use] virtual reality, and [perform] robotic operations, among a number of other tasks" during the study.
It's not space, but it's probably the closest you'll get to feeling like you're off the planet. Plus, you'll get paid. As with most modern-day employment listings, however, NASA doesn't give an exact amount and says the rate is dependent on whether you're a contractor or already with NASA. (Do they pay contractors less or more, I wonder?)
The requirements certainly make this study out of reach for most people. You have to be a U.S. citizen between 30 and 55 years old; speak both Russian and English (the mock facility is in Russia); and have a M.S., PhD., M.D., or military officer training.
If you're not eligible but curious about other NASA studies, you can check for openings to be a test subject for a different mission. Maybe something easier, like sleep. Last year, NASA called for qualified participants for a sleep study that offered a generous $19,000 for people to stay in bed. It might sound like a dream job, but there was a huge catch: Participants had to stay in bed for an entire two months straight. Eating, washing, using the bathroom — all while lying down. At times, subjects were even tilted downward so they could see the effects of bodily fluids moving toward the head.
Hmm. You know what, maybe I'll stick with watching a space documentary instead.