Are you an American citizen who has earned a bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics? If so, NASA may want to hear from you. The organization will be accepting applications for the next generation of space explorers on December 14th.

“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,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a press release. “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.”

Over two years ago, Neil deGrasse Tyson said that we must change “...the mindset of a culture that only advancing a space frontier can bring. That’s what I grew up in and it’s not going on now, and I fear for the future of our country.”

When NASA last opened up applications for astronauts in 2012, the organization received over 6,000 responses. It was the most amount of applications NASA had seen since 1978. But it's possible this round will break records — and NASA's inbox — with applications.

People are more engaged with space exploration than ever before and part of that success has to do with NASA's awe-inspiring social feeds, from stunning high-definition photos of Pluto's heart-shaped plains on Instagram to the release of 4K video footage of the sun.

“We have a voice now that we didn’t before,” John Yembrick, NASA social media manager, told Quartz in an interview.

The next generation of astronauts will be engaged in some exciting opportunities, including flights to the International Space Station and even deep-space missions in NASA's Orion craft.

“NASA has taken the next step in the evolution of our nation’s human spaceflight program — and our U.S. astronauts will be at the forefront of these new and challenging space flight missions,” Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a press release. “We encourage all qualified applicants to learn more about the opportunities for astronauts at NASA and apply to join our flight operations team.”

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Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: ESA / Handout/ Getty