NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER (CBS SF) — Have you ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut? As NASA prepares for a manned launch to the International Space Station this year and with missions to the Moon and Mars on the drawing board, the agency announced Wednesday it will begin taking application for future astronauts.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said his agency is looking for a diverse pool of candidates. Applications will be accepted from March 2 to 31.

“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,” he said. “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.”

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.

NASA officials said applicants will, for the first time, be required to take an online assessment that will require up to two hours to complete.

After completing training, officials said, the new astronauts could launch on American rockets and spacecraft developed for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to live and work aboard the International Space Station, where they will take part in experiments that benefit life at home and prepare us for more distant exploration.

They may also launch on NASA’s powerful new Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, docking the spacecraft at the Gateway in lunar orbit before taking a new human landing system to the Moon’s surface.

After returning humans to the Moon in 2024, NASA said it planned to establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028.

NASA officials said they expect to select the new class of astronaut candidates in mid-2021 to begin training as the next class of Artemis Generation astronauts.

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