Those qualifications are pretty strict. In order to apply, you have to:
- Be a US citizen
- Have at least a Bachelors' degree in "engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics" (nursing, many social sciences, and some psychology degrees don't make the cut)
- Have 3 years of professional experience in your field (teaching is ok), or have 1, 000 hours of "pilot in command" time on a jet
- Be able to see in 20/20, or have glasses that let you see in 20/20
- Be between 5 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 3 inches tall, so you can fit into the space suit
NASA is hiring more astronauts because they're planning a lot of missions in the coming years, including trips that will pave the way to landing a person on Mars, NASA's current long-term goal for crewed missions.
“NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars and we’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to help get us there, " NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “Today, we opened the application process for our next class of astronauts, extraordinary Americans who will take the next giant leap in exploration. This group will launch to space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft and blaze the trail on our journey to the Red Planet.”