NASA has announced it will soon be recruiting new astronauts. And, if being an astronaut isn’t cool enough, this crop of recruits may be among the first people to set foot on Mars. Apart from Matt Damon, I mean. But what does it take to be among that chosen few? Luckily, NASA also gave us a list of requirements for applicants.Aspiring astronauts will need to fulfil the following criteria:
- A bachelor’s degree in science, maths or engineering
- EITHER three years of relevant professional experience
- OR 1,000 hours pilot-in-command flight time in jet aircraft
- Pass NASA’s long-duration spaceflight physical
For something that is probably a dream job to a lot of people, that’s not such an arduous list.
The emphasis on academic achievement was a shift from the earliest astronauts who were selected from the military for their piloting skills. They also couldn’t be too tall (less than 5ft 11in/180cm) because the craft were so cramped. Even today, there is a maximum height of 6ft 3in/190.5cm and a minimum of 5ft 2in/157.5cm.
Having the right hobbies might help, too. Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters, a public affairs representative for NASA, said: “Many applicants have hobbies including scuba or flying, which are also skills used by astronauts during training.”
If you need some ideas for new hobbies (wink wink), NASA training also includes water survival, robotics and Russian.
Applicants who make it through preliminary screening will then have to undergo a week of interviews and medical tests. From there, the lucky ones will have a further two years of training and evaluation before they can join the likes of Neil Armstrong and Chris Hadfield in becoming modern-day heroes.
“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden.
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