NASA has increasingly relied on high-tech machines like orbiters, rovers, and landers to conduct much of its research in space. However, that doesn’t mean that astronauts aren’t needed, and with a renewed interest in sending humans back to the Moon and then eventually to Mars, the space agency needs all the able-bodied space explorers it can get.
With that in mind, NASA is once again putting out the call for a new batch of astronaut applicants, and you could be one of them. The requirements are, well, pretty strict, but what else would you expect from a group that sends humans into space?
“We’re celebrating our 20th year of continuous presence aboard the International Space Station 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,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. “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 to takes to apply beginning March 2.”
So what exactly does “eligible” mean? NASA lays out the basics:
The basic requirements to apply include United States citizenship and a master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics, from an accredited institution. The requirement for the master’s degree can also be met by:
- Two years (36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours) of work toward a Ph.D. program in a related science, technology, engineering or math field;
- A completed doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree;
- Completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2021) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.
Candidates also must have at least two years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Astronaut candidates must pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical.
Okay so the vast majority of us aren’t anywhere close to being qualified to even apply. Still, there’s plenty of bright minds that fit the bill, and NASA will be looking for the best of the best to join its next crop of astronaut candidates.
As Bridenstine noted in his comments, the application process begins on March 2nd, and if you think you fit the bill you can throw your hat into the ring on the USA Jobs website. Good luck!