NASA Seeking New Class of Astronauts for Deep-Space Travel

Astronaut applications accepted until Jan. 27, 2012

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    The International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, left. (2011)

    Just because the Space Shuttle program has ended doesn't mean NASA no longer needs astronauts.

    The space agency recently put out a call for those with dreams of going to space to fill out applications on the federal government's USAJobs.gov website. (Reference job JS12A0001)

    Those selected "will be among the first to pioneer a new generation of commercial launch vehicles and travel aboard a new heavy-lift rocket to distant destinations in deep space," NASA said in a news release.

    Sounds cool, right?

    We'd expect that ideal candidates would not be claustrophobic, suffer from motion sickness, have a drug problem or have any issues with travel. Candidates should be ready to fill any number of jobs including the following: Working dozens of day and night shifts in a 24-hour period aboard the International Space Station; landing on asteroid -- because you can; and going for a stroll on Mars to see if anyone is home. You know, run-of-the-mill spaceman stuff.

    Benefits include the admiration of an entire planet, unparalleled views of the Earth and solar system (pack a camera), the opportunity to meet new people and new civilizations (fingers crossed on that Mars trip!) as well as free transportation to and from work. (Provided work is in a low Earth orbit or beyond.) 

    NASA also provides a generous compensation and benefits package ($65k - $141k per year).  The only cons are that it's incredibly dangerous, there is A LOT of travel and you have to live in Houston.

    In their search, NASA will, of course, consider those with the right stuff ... ie, jet pilots and such.  But they are also seeking individuals with degrees in engineering, science and math.  Teachers who teach those same subjects are also encouraged to apply.  Journalists aren't included? Drat.

    Applications for future space travelers are being accepted through Jan. 27, 2012.  Still have questions? Watch this recruitment video on YouTube or check out the qualifications page here.

    Good luck!