Photo: NASA

Applications are now open for every fifth grader's dream job: NASA astronaut.

Why it matters: The space agency doesn't put out a call for new astronauts unless they have a need to fill.

  • "With 48 astronauts in the active astronaut corps, more will be needed to serve as crew aboard spacecraft bound for multiple destinations and propel exploration forward as part of Artemis missions [to the Moon] and beyond," NASA said in a statement.

Details: Applications opened on March 2 and will run through the end of the month.

  • Requirements include a master's degree in a STEM field, passing a physical exam, U.S. citizenship and two years of work experience that can be translated to life as an astronaut.
  • NASA will likely select its astronaut candidates from this round of applications in 2021, when they can start training to become full-fledged members of the Astronaut Corps.
  • In a first, the space agency will also administer an online exam that could take two hours to complete.

Background: NASA's most recent class of astronauts just graduated after being selected in 2017.

  • That class of 11 was selected from more than 18,300 people who applied in 2015, the highest number of applications ever received by NASA for the astronaut program.

Go deeper: Astronaut Christina Koch lands on Earth after record-setting mission

Go deeper

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