NASA is hiring its next class of astronauts

NASA is hiring its next class of Artemis Generation astronauts, who will be a part of the agency's lunar exploration efforts. By Harmeet Kaur, CNN

(CNN) -- If you've always dreamed of exploring space, here's your chance.

NASA wants to get to the South Pole of the moon by 2024 -- and it wants to send a woman there for the first time, along with another man.

So starting on March 2, the agency will be accepting applications for its next class of astronauts.

That class of astronauts, part of the Artemis Generation, will be a part of the agency's efforts to prepare for another moon landing, and eventually, a landing on Mars.

"For the handful of highly talented women and men we will hire to join our diverse astronaut corps, it's an incredible time in human spaceflight to be an astronaut. We're asking all eligible Americans if they have what it to takes to apply beginning March 2," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a news release.

Since the 1960s, 350 people have trained as astronaut candidates under NASA, the agency said. Currently, there are 48 astronauts in the active astronaut corps, but NASA said it needs more of them to help further its exploration efforts.

NASA said the new astronauts could live and work aboard the International Space Station, and take part in experiments that prepare for more distant space exploration. Or they could launch on new spacecraft and dock at Gateway, the new spaceship that NASA is planning that will orbit the moon.

Those exploration efforts will hopefully help the agency prepare to send people to Mars in the mid-2030s, NASA said.

If you think you've got what it takes, you can apply on the USAjobs website from March 2 to 31. Those interested in applying will need to be a US citizen and have an advanced degree in a STEM field, along with at least two years of related professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.

Candidates will also have to pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical and an online assessment.

NASA says it will select its new class of candidates in mid-2021.

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