From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CHAPEA Mission
Mains level : Not Much
NASA is seeking applications for its new mission called the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA), which is related to Mars.
- The mission is set to begin in 2022 and will give four successful applicants the chance to live and work in a 1,700 square-foot module that is created by a 3D printer and is called the Mars Dune Alpha.
- The simulated quarters include a kitchen, areas for medical, recreation, fitness, work, crop growth, a technical work area and two bathrooms.
- This habitat will simulate what it feels like to carry out missions on Mars including resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays and any other environmental stressors.
- The crew will be expected to perform simulated spacewalks, scientific research and use virtual reality and robotic controls and exchange communications.
What is the purpose of this mission?
- The habitat in which the crew members will stay will be as Mars-realistic as possible.
- The results from this analog mission will provide scientific data that will help in validating the systems that will be used for actual missions to Mars and also help in solving problems for spaceflight research.
- CHAPEA is not the only analog mission, there are others including Aquarius/NEEMO, Concordia, Desert RATS, and HESTIA.
- Analog missions are required because not all experiments can be carried out in space because resources and money are limited.