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Record number of applicants for NASA astronaut job

More than 18,000 people have applied for just 14 places on NASA's latest astronaut training intake, according to the space agency.

That figure surpassed the record set in 1978 of 8,000 applications said NASA in a statement.

Applications this time around opened in mid-December and closed Thursday 18th February.


Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Kopra performs a spacewalk outside the International Space Station in this December 21, 2015 NASA handout photo.
NASA | Reuters
Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Kopra performs a spacewalk outside the International Space Station in this December 21, 2015 NASA handout photo.

Nasa opens applications on an as-required basis.

For this window NASA hit social media hard to promote the openings, perhaps explaining the large number of resumes sent in.

"We have our work cut out for us with this many applications," said Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"But it's heartening to know so many people recognize what a great opportunity this is to be part of NASA's exciting mission," he said.

Applicants for the Candidate Program must be citizens of the United States.

They must also have a bachelor's degree with a major study in an appropriate field of engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics

NASA said chosen candidates will go through about two years of initial training on spacecraft systems, spacewalking skills, teamwork, Russian language and other skills.

NASA said it will announce its selections in mid-2017.

Strange space music

Meanwhile, NASA is to release audio recordings of a 1969 Apollo 10 launch which caused astronauts to report hearing strange music when navigating the dark side of the Moon.

The three astronauts discussed hearing weird noises for around an hour despite being out of radio contact with Earth.

The transcripts classified until 2008, show the astronauts fretting over whether they should tell NASA.

Although no formal explanation has ever been given, NASA scientists believe the audio was caused by interference from spacecraft radios.