NASA now accepting applications for the Astronaut Candidate Program

Scott Kelly on What It Will Take to Get to Mars
Scott Kelly on What It Will Take to Get to Mars

For the first time in four years, NASA is accepting applications for more astronauts, some of whom may contribute to future missions to Mars. Starting on Monday, December 14, you can actually apply.

"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 NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement. recently asked astronaut Scott Kelly what qualities he thinks an ideal candidate should have to make a successful trip to Mars.

"For the person that goes to Mars ... certainly an operational type of background will be important," Kelly explained.

"On the space station, we're it. If something breaks, whether it's the electrical system, or the hardware that removes the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, we have to fix it. If there's a science experiment, we are the ones that conduct it. Computer problems — we have to take care of those too ... So I think someone that's kind of a jack–of–all–trades."

Kelly also noted that getting along well with others is a critical skill future astronauts should have. "What is [also] critical is team work, and being able to work as part of a team, and it's a diverse team ... it will probably be an international effort [to get to Mars], and getting along with and working well with your international colleagues will be very important."

Visit NASA's website to learn more about requirements for becoming an astronaut.

Related: Click through photos of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's recent spacewalks

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