Fulfilling the childhood dreams of many, NASA has posted openings for the next wave in the Astronaut Candidate Program.
NASA announced today it would be taking applications for anyone who would like to be launched out of Earth's gravitational hold and explore the mysteries of space. The space agency is looking for people with a background in engineering, sciences or math and three years of relevant professional experience. The job requires frequent travel. Qualified candidates can go to USAJobs.gov to apply for the job.
"For 50 years, American astronauts have led the exploration of our solar system," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Today we are getting a glimpse of why that will remain true for the next half-century. Make no mistake about it, human space flight is alive and well at NASA."
Degrees in technology, psychology, nursing, exercise physiology, social sciences and aviation are all highly recommended. Anyone with experience flying high-performance jets or educators teaching kindergarten through 12th grade are also encouraged to apply. Presumably, both professions entail the same amount of stress.
Physical qualifications include 20/20 vision in each eye, a sitting blood pressure of no more than 140/90, and a height between 5'2" and 6'3" is also required. Candidates must also pass a drug test and a pre-employment medical examination.
The qualifications may be as little steep and the competition fierce, but astronauts get paid between $64,724 and $141,715 with benefits and plenty of room for career advancement. But you must be willing to relocate to Houston or Earth's upper atmosphere.
If you are hoping to make your way to Mars it might take a while. At the NASA press conference, officials talked about the possibility of going to Mars, but they don't expect manned missions to the red planet to take place before 2030.
NASA will accept applications until Jan. 27, 2012. The agency is expected to make a decision on its final selection in 2013, and training will begin that summer. Click here to check out the job listing and apply to be an astronaut.