If you have ever dreamed of piloting a rocket into deep space, this is your opportunity: This week, NASA announced that it is looking to recruit new astronauts. With a little luck, you could be one of the lucky few that makes it into space.
Over the last month, NASA announced plans for several new missions into deep space and to Mars. This will be the first time humans have traveled further than low-Earth orbit since the Apollo 17 moon mission in 1972, and NASA needs new recruits.
“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says in a statement. These new astronauts will have the chance to "advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.”
Here’s the good news: There are far fewer strict requirements for becoming an astronaut than it may seem. At the minimum, NASA requires candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree in a field like engineering, math, biology or physics, three or more years of related experience, and the ability to pass the official astronaut physical.
But just meeting the minimum requirements isn't likely enough to get you there.To stand out from the crowd, you’ll probably want to beef up your resume with a couple of small things, like an advanced degree or two and at least 1,000 hours of piloting experience in a jet.
There have only ever been 300 astronauts in the history of American space flight and the last time NASA put out an open call for astronaut applications in 2011, they chose only eight finalists out of a pool of over 6,100 applicants, Rachel Feltman reports for The Washington Post.
But if you do apply and become one of the lucky few accepted into NASA—and for many people, that’s probably a big 'but'—you could have the much anticipated opportunity to set foot on the dusty Red Planet.