Indicating a substantial likelihood the European Space Agency will, in fact, soon convert the ATV into its first manned space vehicle, the Continent's space authority has put its first call for astronauts in 16 years.
According to Deutsche Welle, "ESA has said it is looking for astronauts who will be slated for missions to the International Space Station, the moon and even Mars.
"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.
"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."