The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to hire new astronauts for future missions. The agency will be accepting applications starting from December 14 until the middle of February.

Starting 2017, NASA is planning to launch these astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida. This would be the first spaceflight launch from American territory since the space shuttle program was cancelled nearly five years ago. The companies SpaceX and Boeing will provide the spacecrafts to make the trip possible.

NASA is in need of more people to fill the position in preparation of their plan of going to Mars someday. Photo: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden AP Images/Manuel Balce Ceneta

“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” said Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator. “Those selected for this service will fly on U.S.-made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.”

Although there aren’t any age restrictions listed, aspiring astronauts need to fit into a certain criteria to be accepted by the organization. Mathematics, engineering and physical or biological sciences are some of the degrees — from an accredited institution — expected from candidates. Additionally, they must pass NASA’s spaceflight testing and have at least either 3 years of working experience on a related field, or 1000 hours of service piloting a jet aircraft.

According NASA’s Candidate Program document, “astronauts are involved in all aspects of assembly and on-orbit operations of the International Space Station (ISS). This includes extravehicular activities (EVA), robotics operations using the remote manipulator system, experiment operations, and onboard maintenance tasks.” These are only some of the responsibilities the selected applicants should take into consideration.

Once the selection phase is finished, astronaut candidates will take 2 years of intense training, evaluations and physical tests that include military water survival and scuba diving to inspect how their bodies react in different pressure conditions.

Despite the large number of requirements and arduous physical tests, the compensation for the astronaut work ranges between $66,000 and $144,566 per year — the amount increases as the worker gathers more experience on the job.

“I’m recruiting the best and brightest Americans to join me,” says Bolden on NASA’s recruiting campaign video. He hopes the new generation of ‘space pioneers’ will tag along the other 47 astronauts from the organization on its future journey to Mars.

Source: NBC News.