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NASA Want Ad: Astronauts needed to help get to Mars

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Members of NASA and the Russian support teams who were unable to fly to the Soyuz TMA-17M landing site due to weather, watched a live video stream of the U.S. space agency’s Kjell Lindgren, Russia’s Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui of Japan returning to Earth, outside Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Friday. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. » Need more office space? How about outer space?

NASA opened its astronaut-application website today. It’s accepting applications through Feb. 18.

Contenders need to be U.S. citizens with a bachelor’s degree in science, math or engineering. Expect intense competition: More than 6,000 applied for NASA’s last astronaut class in 2013, with only eight picked. It’s an elite club, numbering only in the 300s since the beginning.

Future astronauts will have four spacecraft at their disposal: the International Space Station, two commercial crew capsules to get there, and NASA’s Orion spacecraft for eventual Mars trips. Pay is between $66,000 and $145,000 a year, and you’ll have to move to Houston.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, says this next group will help “blaze the trail” to Mars.

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