Are you an engineer who has dreamed of working on the International Space Station or maybe on the surface of Mars?
Your big chance could be here.
NASA announced today that it's looking for its next class of astronaut candidates. While the space agency is hoping to find scientists, medical doctors and pilots, it needs engineers, too.
"This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden on the NASA website. "Those selected for this service will fly on U.S.-made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space."
The astronauts who participate in the upcoming missions can expect to launch into space on U.S.-made commercial spacecraft or on NASA's own Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.
NASA will accept astronaut applications between Dec. 14 and mid-February. Candidates will be announced in mid-2017, according to the agency. Applications can be submitted at USAjobs.gov, the federal government's job listings site.
NASA said that it will be seeking potential astronauts from what it calls a "diverse pool of U.S. citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds." Applicants do not need to be pilots, though that does help. A bachelor's degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering or math) is required, and an advanced degree is a plus.
Among other things, NASA is hoping that the pool of applicants will include people with backgrounds in engineering.
For instance, the basic requirements for a potential astronaut pilot include a bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. For mission specialists, NASA is seeking people with bachelor's degrees in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics.
There is no age requirement, although the average age has been 34, nor is a military background required. Candidates must also pass NASA's spaceflight physical.