Over 500 people have made it into space. To join them, at least with NASA, the basic requirements aren’t that intimidating. It’s the competition that’s a killer.
NASA’s last class had over 18,300 applicants for 12 positions. Maybe you can apply more than once, since there’s no age requirement (applicants are typically between 26 to 46-years-old.) John Glenn was 77, though a lot of people thought being the first American to orbit the Earth and then a US Senator weighed into the decision to send him on a shuttle mission.
If you’re planning your future, here goes.
- NASA is part of the American government, so you need to be a US citizen
- You must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological or physical science, computer science, or math. Get working on your STEM courses
- Then accumulate three years of related professional experience or 1,000 hours of piloting
- Pass NASA’s long-duration astronaut physical
There are multiple parts to the physical. For example, you need 20/20 vision, although using glasses or LASIK surgery is okay. You also must fit into a spacesuit. With the snazzy new suits provided by SpaceX, maybe more body types will be accommodated than in the past.
NASA astronauts are required to pass military water survival training, pass a flying syllabus, and become SCUBA qualified, which includes a swim test. They also have to successfully complete training on the systems that run the International Space Station, extravehicular activity skills training for spacewalks, robotics skills training, and aircraft flight readiness training.
Thanks to quickanddirtytips for NASA’s list, but don’t despair. The Russians have suspended their tourist program, but maybe you can come up with the $250,000 ticket price for a short tourist hop with Virgin Galactic… sometime soon. Various startups will compete for your fare… sometime not quite as soon. Keep an eye on Elon Musk. He may offer a trip around the Moon or even to Mars. It wouldn’t hurt to make friends with a billionaire now so you’re ready.
The launch window for NASA’s next Mars rover opens in a month, on July 20th. Headed to a crater that once contained a liquid water lake, will it find biosignatures? That is, evidence of life? Before we worry about that, will it land safely? The curse of Mars still nibbles at my mind.
The world that we see
Can’t show, normally,
Because of gravity.
So Einstein and Bose,
A century ago,
Said get atoms cold,
Really, really cold.
Now those NASA imps
Gives us all a glimpse,
Coming to grips
With quantum tricks.
A tool for you and me,
Created so cleverly,
To parse relativity
And search for dark energy.
Calculate the transition temperature for yourself 😉
A team of NASA scientists unveiled the first results from BEC (Bose Einstein Condensate) experiments aboard the International Space Station, where particles can be manipulated free from Earthly constraints, creating the fifth state of matter.
Aboard the ISS, the BECs lasted more than a second, offering the team an unprecedented chance to study their properties. phys.org