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Europe

Help Wanted: Europe Puts Out Call for Astronauts

The European Space Agency, in a bid to beef up its astronaut corps, has put out a call for applicants for the first time in 16 years.

This image released by the European Space Agency ESA on Sunday Feb. 25, 2007 shows a two-colour composite of Mars seen by ESA Rosetta probe's Osiris narrow-angle camera on Feb. 24, 2007 from a distance of about 240,000 kms.

Outta this world: For this job, willingness to travel is necessary

ESA has said it is looking for astronauts who will be slated for missions to the International Space Station, the moon and even Mars.

This undated image provided by the European Space Agency ESA shows an artist's rendering of the satellite GIOVE-A, part of the satellite navigation system Galileo.

An artist's rendering of the Gallileo satellite GIOVE-A

Applicants need to between the ages of 27 and 37 years old. Scientists, pilots, engineers and physicians have the best prospects. Speaking English is a prerequisite, while some Russian language knowledge is also a plus. Applications are being accepted via the agency's Internet site until June 15.

Seeking next generation

Currently ESA, a space consortium of 17 countries, has eight active astronauts, the youngest of whom is 43 years old. They are already working aboard the International Space Station and starting operations on the Columbus lab, among other activities.

ESA is now looking toward further exploration of the solar system, a plan that requires a new generation of space explorers.

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