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NASA now taking astronaut applications for the Moon, Mars

The qualifications are tough, but the reward is out of this world.

NASA has begun accepting new applications for potential astronauts hoping to be among the next Americans to visit the Moon and, eventually, Mars. This will be the next class of what NASA is calling the Artemis Generation.

NASA says it has 48 active astronauts in its corps and it needs more.

The application process opened Monday. NASA will take applications at usajobs.gov through March 31. The application includes, for the first time, an online assessment that will take about two hours.

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The requirements are tough. From NASA's website: 

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.