Nasa's job site seeks astronauts to blaze a trail to Mars video

Nasa wants  "a diverse mix of individuals" to apply to become astronauts.

Nasa wants "a diverse mix of individuals" to apply to become astronauts.

Need more office space? How about outer space?

NASA opened its astronaut-application website Monday.

It's accepting applications through February 19.

Contenders need to be US 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. I

t's an elite club, numbering only in the 300s since the original Mercury 7 chosen in 1959.

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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 $US66,000 ($NZ97,000) and $US145,000 a year, and you'll have to move to Houston.

Astronaut criteria have changed over the years, said Brian Kelly, director of flight operations at Johnson Space Centre.

"Some people would be surprised to learn they might have what it takes," Kelly said.

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"We want and need a diverse mix of individuals to ensure we have the best astronaut corps possible."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a member of the Astronaut Class of 1980, said this next group will help "blaze the trail" to Mars.

 - AP

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