Wanted: The next generation of astronauts to walk on the Moon and journey to Mars.
You’ll need a relevant Master’s degree, be prepared to live and work 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth on the International Space Station, and be a US citizen.
NASA announced Tuesday it was seeking to boost its astronaut corps, which currently stands at 48 active personnel, as part of plans to dramatically expand its crewed space missions in the coming years.
“We’re celebrating our 20th year of continuous presence aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in low-Earth orbit this year, and we’re on the verge of sending the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“For the handful of highly talented women and men we will hire to join our diverse astronaut corps, it’s an incredible time in human spaceflight to be an astronaut. We’re asking all eligible Americans if they have what it takes to apply beginning 2 March.”
Big news! Starting March 2 @NASA will begin accepting astronaut applications. Our newest astronauts have what it takes to explore the stars — do you? Check out their advice to #BeAnAstronaut and get your resumes ready! https://t.co/MtguPM6h3A pic.twitter.com/KUlQh7ADDL
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) February 11, 2020
The requirements for a Master’s degree in science, engineering or mathematics (STEM) can also be met by being two years into a STEM PhD, or by being a test pilot, one of the most well-worn paths to the astronaut corps.
A medical degree – or one in osteopathic medicine – also works.
The candidates will need at least two years’ professional experience, or, in the case of pilots, 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time.
And, for the first time ever, candidates will be asked to complete a two-hour online test.
The process is competitive. The last class of 11 NASA astronauts, which graduated in January, were picked from a record-breaking 18,000 applicants.