NASA has opened its application process for astronauts to search for a new crew that will help ‘blaze the trail’ to Mars.
It could be a tricky one to get on the shortlist for, as the last time NASA was recruiting – back in 2013 – eight astronauts were chosen from among 6,000 applicants.
The bar is certainly set pretty high as potential astronauts will have to undergo a gruelling long-duration physical as well as have a college degree (advanced preferred), near visual acuity, three years of related work experience — or at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement on the agency’s website:
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. 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.
On top of hopefully being the first true Martians, the next class of astronauts will be trained to fly two commercial spacecraft – Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon – which will allow an extra crew member on each mission, doubling the amount of time astronauts can devote to research in space.
John Logsdon, a professor at George Washington University, told BuzzFeed News that “this will be the first generation of astronauts to travel farther than the moon” as NASA is now seeking to support not only space station operations, but trips beyond Lunar orbit in the next two decades.
Competition for jobs will definitely be fierce, but in case you’re ruling yourself out of the race, you should maybe think again.
Brian Kelly, director of flight operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, said:
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. They don’t do things halfway — they don’t just play the flute. They play in an orchestra.
Think you’ve got what it takes? Apply here guys. Happy space travels.