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NASA hiring new astronauts for the first time in four years

March 2, 2020, 5:19 PM UTC
NASA Hiring Astronauts 2020
Courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of NASA

Wanna get away – like … really, really away? NASA might have the job for you.

For the first time in four years, the nation’s space agency is once again accepting applications from people who want to be astronauts. You’ve got until the end of the month to apply.

So what does it take to potentially be part of the crew that returns to the moon with the Artemis program or heads to Mars? Well, you’ll need to be smart. The job demands a master’s degree in a STEM field or an equivalent, a medical doctorate or you’ll need a STEM-based bachelor’s along with having completed test pilot school program. You also have to be a U.S. citizen and at least two years of “progressively responsible, professional experience”.

“America is closer than any other time in history since the Apollo program to returning astronauts to the Moon. We will send the first woman and next man to the lunar South Pole by 2024, and we need more astronauts to follow suit on the Moon, and then Mars,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. “We’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to join us in this new era of human exploration that begins with the Artemis program to the Moon. If you have always dreamed of being an astronaut, apply now.”

The job is based in Houston, though you’ll be traveling about 75% of the time. Salaries range between $104,898 and $161,141.

Should you get the job, you’ll spend about two years learning the ropes —from spacewalking to robotics to teamwork skills. And from there, you’ll wait until you’re assigned a spaceship, handing “responsibilities within the astronaut office ranging from supporting … fellow astronauts in space to advising on the development of new spacecraft.”

NASA says it expects to receive a high number of applications for the jobs and will begin selecting final candidates by the middle of next year. It didn’t say how many positions it was looking to fill, but only 11 of the 18,300 who applied in 2015 got the job.

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