Sunday, November 8, 2015

NASA's searching for Mars Astronauts. Do you have what it takes?

See if you meet the requirements to become a NASA Astronaut on the first manned mission to Mars...

Click here to watch our Mars channel featuring the best videos from NASA and the web about Mars

Do you ever look up at night and dream of visiting the stars?  NASA has begun officially searching for the next generation of Astronauts to explore Mars and beyond. They will begin accepting applications on December 14th so there is not much time left for you to bolster your resume. This could be your chance to experience the rarified lack of air that few people have ever reached, and enter space.  No other human endeavor has carried such prestige and risk of peril. 

You may think you are up to the challenge, but NASA has some strict requirements to even qualify for being considered.  How many do you meet?

1. Citizenship: 
Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must be citizens of the United States. Applicants with valid U.S. dual-citizenship are also eligible.

The first person on mars is going to be an American, cause ‘Merica! That’s why! It will be hard to find a moment more patriotic than the one when an American plants the Red White and Blue flag in Martian soil for the first time.

2. Education:
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics.

All those years of hitting the books and studying while your friends were out “living it up” are about to pay off.  As an astronaut you would be a pioneer living out the greatest adventure in human history while your peers most likely toil in middle management. Who’s the nerd now? 

3. Experience:
At least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.

3 years of related experience sounds reasonable, but what counts as related experience? NASA does not specify, but you can bet being an avid Star Wars fan is not going to cut it.  Graduate level education in a related field could be your ticket to the 3-year requirement, as could interestingly enough, being a teacher at the K-12 level.  That’s right, kindergarten teachers are space eligible! 

4. Physical:
Distance and near-visual acuity: Must be correctable to 20/20, each eye, blood pressure not to exceed 140/90 measured in a sitting position, and standing height between 62 and 75 inches.

Being a four-eyes is unacceptable to NASA, but thankfully LASIK corrective eye surgery can amend that.  Unfortunately 6'6'' Michael Jordan will not be going to space anytime soon, disappointing Space Jam fans everywhere.

Those are the core requirements to even have your application considered, but there is far more to becoming an astronaut than that.  If your application is selected, NASA will perform a background check, hold several rounds of interviews, and conduct a full-fledged “astronaut” physical. If you pass each one of these steps, congratulations, you are now an official astronaut candidate!

So you are an Official Astronaut candidate, what now? 

This is when the real fun begins, however there is still no guarantee you will become an astronaut. Official candidates undergo a two-year training and evaluation period at the Johnson Space Center Astronaut Office in Houston, Texas. The Astronaut Candidate training is designed to develop the knowledge and skills required for formal mission training upon selection for a flight. This process includes rigorous military water survival training, demanding physical conditioning, and a heavy course load.  Upon completing the two-year training period, candidates are assessed on their mastery of required knowledge and skills, physical suitability, and overall performance, at which point they will either be accepted or rejected as the next generation of astronauts.


Believe you may have what it takes or want to learn more about NASA’s astronaut selection process, click here:

Not up for the challenge but still want to experience space?  Check out our Mars channel featuring the best space videos from around the web:

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