Do you want to live on Mars? There have been books and movies about what it might be like, but now there’s a Mars replication right on Earth, and it needs inhabitants to test out the environment.

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A dark landscape lit up only by a NASA building with a NASA sign on top and a large open factory door looking inside.

Advanced 3D-printing technology company ICON, known for delivering the first permitted 3D-printed home in the U.S. and providing the world’s first 3D-printed community of homes in Mexico, has now turned its efforts towards the Red Planet. Well, technically Mars Dune Alpha will sit at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. But it will be inhabited by everyday citizens in order to measure food requirements, physical reactions and mental performance in a trial run for the future of Mars living.

Related: Nüwa, the design for a self-sustaining city on Mars 

A rendering of what the structure would look like in a Mars environment.

“This is the highest-fidelity simulated habitat ever constructed by humans. Mars Dune Alpha is intended to serve a very specific purpose–to prepare humans to live on another planet for a long, long time. We wanted to develop the most faithful analog possible to aid in humanity’s mission to expand into the stars,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO, ICON.

A terracotta-colored 3D-printed structure.

The 1,700-square-foot Mars habitat designed by architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) includes separate quarters for four crew members, a kitchen, recreation area, two bathrooms, a treatment room, fitness space, and even an indoor garden to grow food.

A close-up of material being 3D-printed out onto the structure.

In total, the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, or CHAPEA, program will run three one-year simulations. The program is accepting applications through mid-September 2021 for 2022 occupancy. Candidates must hold a master’s degree in a branch of STEM studies, be between the ages of 30-55, and have at least two years of related work experience. Applicants must also pass psych, medical and physical evaluations.

A close-up of the 3D-printed material.

A day in the life will include eating a space diet and providing the necessary biological samples when requested, for research purposes.  

A close-up of the 3D-printed material.

“The data gained from this habitat research will directly inform NASA’s standards for long-duration exploration missions, and as such will potentially lay the foundation for a new Martian vernacular. Mars Dune Alpha will take us one step closer to becoming a multiplanetary species,” said Bjarke Ingles, Founder and Creative Director, BIG.

A concept rendering of the project.

To learn more or to apply, visit


Via ICON Build and Core 77

Images via BIG