NASA Looks To Hire New Astronauts
It pays between $64,724 to $141,715 a year, and it lets you travel to the most exotic locales imaginable. The only catch is that along with requiring a technical background, preferably in the form of an advanced degree, candidates should have "at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft."
NASA is hiring astronauts again. And the recruitment drive to fill the agency's "few vacancies" has taken on a thoroughly modern form; NASA has released a video on YouTube for the first time. The video lasts one minute and 16 seconds. "We're going to going to send humans farther into space than ever before, and eventually, to Mars," the video's voice-over shares. "We need you to help plan for this future of exploration."
The audio is mixed over images of astronauts engaging in a variety of activities related to space exploration. They range from basic shuttle maintenance to cruising around red, Martian-like terrain. The YouTube-enhanced notice is the first job call of any kind for astronauts since 2007, according to The Washington Post. And it comes at a time when NASA is staring at a potential shortage in astronauts. Currently, there are 59 employed, almost 100 less than just a decade ago. The application will be open to all U.S. citizens until Jan. 27, 2012.
Speaking to CBS News, NASA conceded that it hopes the job openings will dispel the notion that Americans are no longer flying into space after the space shuttle was retired this past summer. The space shuttle was just one of many NASA programs.
Those who do find themselves lucky enough to make the NASA cut will be landing at one of the best places in the federal government. In a survey released by the Partnership for Public Service on Nov. 16, NASA was ranked as the fifth best place to work out of the 33 large government agencies surveyed. And among the categories in which NASA scored highest were employee skills and mission match.
"Those of us at NASA know it's a great place to work." said NASA administrator Charles Bolden, according to a PR Newswire release. "We are the world leader in space exploration and cutting-edge science missions, and contribute to the economic vitality of our great nation. We reach for new heights and challenge our employees to carry out missions to benefit humankind. What job could be better than that?"
And according to a report from AOL Jobs from this past summer, when the space shuttle was retired, NASA jobs mean more than just positions directly related to space exploration. Indeed, when the space shuttle temporarily closed in July for repairs, estimates of the number of associated jobs that would be lost as a result of the decision hovered around 9,000. They were mostly related to the tourism and trinket industry that has long proliferated in the greater Cape Canaveral area near the Kennedy Space Center.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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