(Image: ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli inside the Station’s Quest Airlock during the STS-120 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Credits: NASA)

After previously pondering the worth of sending humans into space, Europe has recently decided that not only do they want to send people to the Moon, they want to recruit “fresh blood.”

(New Scientist Space) ESA hopes to inject some young blood into its astronaut corps. Currently Europe has only eight astronauts, with an average age of 50. The agency wants to recruit four more, ideally aged 27 to 37.

“If we have a Moon programme and if Europe commits to participating in that, I anticipate that one of those who we are selecting now will walk on the Moon,” says Gerhard Thiele, head of ESA’s astronaut corps. […]

The agency will target two key types of candidate. One is scientists and engineers; the other is pilots who fly sophisticated jet aircraft. Successful applicants must also have various personality traits, including high motivation and gregariousness.

The European Space Agency (or ESA) is accepting applications no earlier than May 19th. Qualified individuals can apply online, although their is no word on whether they will be accepting entries via snail mail (or even faxes).

Either way, this is a good sign for the ESA, although they need to find a way to launch their own astronauts into space, lest they become dependent upon NASA, Russia or China (which could affect their future in space).

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