NASA wants to hire more astronauts

Have you dreamed of becoming a space explorer? You now have your chance to do something about it: after a four-year silence, NASA is once again hiring new astronauts. The recruiting drive will run between December 14th and mid-February, with the final selections made public in mid-2017. You'll need the right mix education, experience and stamina to even get your foot in the door (there's a long-term spaceflight physical, for example). However, it could easily be worth clearing that high bar.

Unlike hiring campaigns from recent years, the astronauts who pass muster this time around are likely to do more than travel to the International Space Station on Russian rockets. NASA is preparing for the day when manned launches return to the US, whether they're relying on Boeing and SpaceX capsules or the Orion spacecraft. If all goes according to plan, these fresh faces could help start a new, revitalized era of American spaceflight.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool]