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A Step Towards Mars

Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA) is a series of analog missions that will simulate year-long stays on the surface of Mars. Each mission will consist of four crew members living in Mars Dune Alpha, an isolated 1,700 square foot habitat. During the mission, the crew will conduct simulated spacewalks and provide data on a variety of factors, which may include physical and behavioral health and performance.

The 3D printed habitat will include private crew quarters, a kitchen, and dedicated areas for medical, recreation, fitness, work, and crop growth activities, as well as a technical work area and two bathrooms.

CHAPEA Habitat
The 1,700-square-foot CHAPEA habitat contains individual living quarters for four volunteer crew members.
NASA/Bill Stafford


To obtain the most accurate data during the analog, the analog mission will be as Mars-realistic as feasible, which may include environmental stressors such as resource limitations, isolation, equipment failure, and significant workloads. The major crew activities during the analog may consist of simulated spacewalks including virtual reality, communications, crop growth, meal preparation and consumption, exercise, hygiene activities, maintenance work, personal time, science work, and sleep.


CHAPEA Missions:
1) Analog mission 1 – Began June 25, 2023
2) Analog mission 2 – Starting 2025
3) Analog mission 3 – Starting 2026

Why this is Important

The results of CHAPEA and the knowledge gained from the analog missions will allow NASA to characterize the risk of the planned exploration food system design in relation to crew health and performance and inform NASA standards, associated vehicle mass and volume requirements, and resource-risk trades for long-duration exploration missions.

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