NASA seeking applicants for its grueling astronaut candidate program

In early November, NASA announced that it would start accepting new astronaut applications in mid-December. Right on schedule, the space agency has opened to receiving such applications, doing so in search for an "Astronaut Candidate." A bunch of requirements are in place for prospective astronauts, not the least of which is citizenship in the United States (including those with a dual citizenship). Those selected will spend two years undergoing intense training.

The process is a long one, and the requirements are many. As such, it's best to read the entire Astronaut Candidate Brochure if you're seriously considering applying. Aside from having US citizenship, one must have at minimum a Bachelor's degree in math, computer or physical science, biological science, or engineering, as well as three years of "progressively responsible" related professional experience.

If those requirements are met, one must also have 20/20 correctable vision, and must pass NASA's full astronaut physical, which is long in duration and full of specific requirements itself.

The space agency plans to have a preliminary screening when it will ask for any extra info it wants and possibly contact some applicants. Finalist applicants will then undergo a week of interviews, medical assessments, possibly a physical, and orientation. Those who survive this stage will then undergo a full background investigation.

You're going to Mars, I went to NASA

Ultimately, the selected Astronaut Candidates will be assigned to the Johnson Space Center and will spend a couple years undergoing training and evaluation. This will include military-level water survival training, obtaining a SCUBA qualification, and more. Still, there's no guarantee after this that candidates will go on to become an astronaut.

Those who graduate from the program will have to know how to speak Russian, run ISS systems, and more. Those who don't make the astronaut cut may still be given positions of employment in NASA, however.