Nasa has asked for applications to go to the Moon.
It is the first time in four years the space agency has asked for new astronauts.
The opening of applications also comes as the company gears up to return to the Moon's surface for the first time in decades – and then use that as a step onto a trip to Mars.
US citizens can apply for the programme on the devoted federal website. Applications must be submitted before the end of the month.
The space agency has stressed that it is looking for people from "diverse backgrounds".
“America is closer than any other time in history since the Apollo program to returning astronauts to the Moon. We will send the first woman and next man to the lunar South Pole by 2024, and we need more astronauts to follow suit on the Moon, and then Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement.
“We’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to join us in this new era of human exploration that begins with the Artemis program to the Moon. If you have always dreamed of being an astronaut, apply now.”
Any successful astronauts will be selected in 2021 and then begin training, a tough process that can take years.
Last time around, in 2015, some 18,300 people applied and just 11 new astronauts made it through to last year's graduation.
“Becoming an astronaut is no easy task, because being an astronaut is no easy task,” said Steve Koerner, NASA’s director of flight operations and chair of the Astronaut Selection Board at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“Those who apply will likely be competing against thousands who have dreamed of and worked toward going to space for as long as they can remember. But somewhere among those applicants are our next astronauts, and we look forward to meeting you.”
The requirements for applicants are strict: they must have a master's degree in a STEM field, or equivalent experience. They must also have two years of related professional experience or 1,000 hours of flying a jet aircraft.
To get through the selection programme, they will also have to pass a physical exam. For the first time, some of the assessment will take place online, with a test that will take up to two hours to complete.
Successful astronauts could be deployed to a wide variety of different missions. After training they could head to the International Space Station to take part in experiments, but may also be selected as part of the plans to head back to the Moon and then use that as a step to head to Mars in the mid-2030s.
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