With ambitious plans laid ahead for space exploration, NASA is looking to attract a new generation of astronauts. Beginning next month, a few select candidates will go through hoops to test their abilities and understand their real endurance.
Space exploration and manned missions in space are an old yet new territory for NASA. Since the time of the space shuttle, technologies and ambitions have shifted to more complex, diverse and challenging territory.
With the Mars mission looming in the 2030s, new possible landings on the Moon and maybe even landing on asteroids, the new generation of astronauts is walking into uncharted territory. NASA is looking to attract a new generation of astronauts. Yet the candidates must be aware of the longer and further stretches of history they are about to write.
For this purpose, NASA is looking for talented pilots in addition to scientists. These somewhat technical requirements are completed by perfect health condition, as well as an easy-going personality. A four-month stretch in space is not a walk in the park. Communication with colleagues, mutual respect and support while accomplishing the goals of a mission are of utmost importance. Consider being stuck with the same people for four months in the same tight environment.
In the past four years, this is the second time U.S. President Obama and the U.S. space agency have endorsed a call for a new generation of astronauts. Since the plans to land on Mars are shaping up, the need for brilliant candidates is increasing. Popular culture is building on the dream of future space exploration too. The Martian was nothing short of a box office hit while the media are feeding into Mars-related news.
According to the head of NASA’s Astronaut Selection Office, the U.S. space agency has a first cornerstone to pass. Picking eight to fourteen candidates of which only a few will be the lucky one. A bachelor degree or above and three year’s experience working buys a first winning ticket. Yet, it’s not sufficient. A pleiade of medical tests, evaluation tests, interviews and aptitude tests will follow. The last ones standing will be announced only in 2017.
With the previous round, NASA’s Astronaut Selection Office received over 6,000 applications. Only eight candidates were finalists.
While the International Space Station is one destination point for astronauts, the new generation is certainly destined for uncharted territory in deep space.
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