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NASA puts out call for potential Mars astronauts

The Universe is Calling: Apply to Be a NASA Astronaut (Official NASA Video feat. Morgan Freeman)

Up for a trip to Mars? Apply to become an astronaut.

On Tuesday, NASA announced that it’s looking for its next class of astronauts, and some of those who make it through the selection process could indeed find themselves on a spacecraft to the red planet.

And before then, a trip to the moon is certainly on the cards.

“NASA astronauts have been traveling to space for more than six decades and living there continuously since 2000,” the agency says on a webpage calling for applicants. “Now, NASA’s Artemis program is preparing to land the first woman and the next man on the moon. The Orion spacecraft atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will carry humans farther into space than they have gone before — for missions to the moon and eventually to Mars.”

According to NASA, to be considered for a $152,000-per-year astronaut position, applicants must meet the following requirements:

– Be a U.S. citizen
– Have a master’s degree* in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics, from an accredited institution
– Have a minimum of three years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion (or 1,000 Pilot-in-Command hours with at least 850 of those hours in high performance jet aircraft for pilots) For medical doctors, time in residency can count towards experience and must be completed by June 2025
– Be able to successfully complete the NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical

*The master’s degree requirement can also be met by:
– Two years of work towards a doctoral program in a related science, technology, engineering, or math field
– Completed Doctor of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, or related medical degree
– Completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2025) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program

Skills in leadership, teamwork, and communication are also necessary for the job.

So, how are the final selections made? Well, first, NASA invites promising candidates for interview at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. About half are invited back for second interviews, and from that group, NASA’s new astronaut candidates are chosen. The trainees spend the next two years learning basic astronaut skills like spacewalking, operating the space station, flying T-38 jet planes, and controlling a robotic arm, NASA said.

Those wishing to apply have until April 2 to do so.

NASA’s call for applicants came on the same day it welcomed its latest batch of astronauts who’ve just emerged from two years of basic training. The 2021 class includes 10 NASA candidates, and also two United Arab Emirates (UAE) candidates from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center who’ve been training alongside the NASA candidates.

Many of the new recruits can expect to travel to the International Space Station, the moon, and possibly even Mars.

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