NASA is accepting applications for aspiring astronauts for a mission to where no one has gone before: Mars.

The agency announced Monday that is looking for candidates to embark on any of four U.S. spacecraft that will be integral to the journey: the International Space Station, two commercial spacecraft, and NASA's Orion deep-space exploration vehicle, which will help pave the way for the trip to the fourth rock from the Sun.

"NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars and we're looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to help get us there," said NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden in a statement. "Today, we opened the application process for our next class of astronauts, extraordinary Americans who will take the next giant leap in exploration. This group will launch to space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft and blaze the trail on our journey to the Red Planet."

To qualify, candidates must be U.S. citizens, have a bachelor's degree in a relevant science field and at least three years of "related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft." Candidates must also pass NASA's long-duration astronaut physical.

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