Who wants to be an astronaut?
Next on Star Wars week: what’s your brain like in spaaace? Check out Steph Nelli’s post from this past September to learn about what it takes to be an astronaut!
Sensory deprivation. Cultural isolation. Physical confinement. Throw in relearning every menial task for microgravity, the lack of privacy and the disturbed sleep-wake cycle, and you can be sure your life will never be the same (1,2).
Yeah, the job description for being an astronaut is a little intense. Especially since you also need to be intelligent, physically fit, and, preferably, a pilot (3). Hopefully you’re also willing to take sponge baths, eat vacuum packed food and drink filtered pee (2, although NASA astronauts recently ate the first lettuce grown in microgravity, 4).
Given all this, it seems qualified job applicants would be few and far between. But it turns out that weightlessness and the world-class view attracts quite the pool of applicants. In 2013, NASA selected only 8 out of over 6,000 applicants to move onto training (5). A crucial part of this selection is screening for applicants with the “right stuff” to handle the stresses of space life.
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