Earlier this year, NASA announced their intent to conduct a search for new space explorers for missions to Mars. Now, the space agency’s astronaut candidate application website is live, and it’s accepting submissions until February 18.
“NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars and we’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to help get us there,” said NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden.
Those selected will choose to fly on either the International Space Station, NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle, or two commercial crew spacecraft currently being developed by US firms.
Thinking of putting your name into the mix? The requirements aren’t as overwhelming as you might think.
Interested applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from accredited institutions in the field of engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. Advanced degrees are an advantage but not required. Candidates must also have a minimum of three years related experience, at least 1000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.
They must also pass the NASA long-duration astronaut physical.
“Today, we opened the application process for our next class of astronauts, extraordinary Americans who will take the next giant leap in exploration. This group will launch to space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft and blaze the trail on our journey to the Red Planet,” adds Bolden.
Selected candidates will lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida onboard the Orion spacecraft and explore the lunar orbit, where they will be tasked with learning about how to complete operations in deep space.
Eventually, these new team of space explorers will go on extended missions that will prepare them for our first manned missions to Mars.
“NASA’s mission, and what we need from the astronauts helping to carry it out, has evolved over the years. Some people would be surprised to learn they might have what it takes. We want and need a diverse mix of individuals to ensure we have the best astronaut corps possible,” ends Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.