It’s time to dust off your space boots. NASA has opened the application process for new astronauts, meaning you could one day soon join the hundreds who have ventured beyond Earth’s atmosphere to date. And, if selected, you could be among the people who take the first steps towards – or on – Mars.
Unfortunately for the rest of the world, only U.S. citizens are allowed to apply. Submissions must be made on USAJobs.gov by February 18, 2016, while a Reddit AMA today at 4 p.m. EST (9 p.m. GMT) by NASA will seek to answer questions anyone might have.
If you think you don’t have what it takes to become an astronaut, fret not. The requirements are not as strict as you might think. First, you need to have a bachelor’s degree – preferably an advanced degree – in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics.
Next, you’ll need to be of an average height, and you’ll also need to be able to pass a NASA physical. You’ll also need 1,000 hours of experience either as a pilot, or three years of work in a relevant field.
NASA said that 3 million U.S. citizens on LinkedIn met its criteria to be an astronaut. They aren't clear on what the age limit is, though.
Astronauts selected in this batch will be picked in mid-2017, and will be chosen to fly on any of four U.S. vehicles: the International Space Station (ISS), NASA’s Orion capsule, or two commercial crew spacecraft, SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
So, what are you waiting for? Apply now, and one day you too could join the prestigious and exclusive club of people who have left this planet behind.