When allocating seats for the Artemis moon missions, NASA will take into account every agency astronaut, the agency said. This program reverses a 2020 announcement in which 18 astronauts were chosen for these flights, and dubbed "the Artemis Team" by NASA.

The head of the astronaut office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, told reporters at a live-streamed briefing on Friday that any one of the 42 currently active astronauts is qualified for an Artemis mission.

"We want to assemble the right team for this mission," Weisman said.

The news was announced by the organization while the Artemis 1 mission was getting ready to return to the launch pad on August 18 for a launch to the moon that wouldn't happen before August 29. If everything goes according to plan, the mission will test the Space Launch System (SLS) mega rocket and the Orion spacecraft in preparation for upcoming crewed lunar surface missions.

Astronauts will "beat down the door" to earn a position on any future moon trips, according to Wiseman, who promised that the Artemis 2 assignments would be revealed soon. Regarding Artemis 2 assignments, he said, "We hope that will be later this year." That mission is not expected to launch before 2024.

NASA recently changed the lifetime radiation exposure requirements to give equal assessments regardless of age or gender, which appears to have significantly increased the pool of candidates for astronauts.

Women astronauts claimed that under the previous regulations, which permitted men to accumulate more radiation and, as a result, spend more time in space, they were subjected to prejudice. The U.S. provided NASA with input. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have called for higher requirements, which the academies supported in a 2021 report.

The earlier radiation guidelines, according to Wiseman, were "draconian," but everything is now "equalized," he added. "It does not matter whether you're a man, whether you're a woman. It is the exact same."

All sexes and age groups will be eligible for Artemis, with the existing astronaut corps' age range being between 20 and 60. As long as you're in good health, we'll put you on a rocket and launch you into space, Wiseman added.

A Canadian will be on board Artemis 2 in return for the nation's promise to construct a robotic arm dubbed Canadarm3 to maintain the Gateway space station. Canada hasn't picked an astronaut yet, but it will probably do so around the same time as NASA; the country's space agency currently has four astronauts on active duty.