For the first time in three years, NASA will be accepting applications for its astronaut program beginning next week. Do you have the right stuff? The requirements are not exactly things you can throw together in your resume at the last minute.
The basic qualifications to be an 21st century astronaut are actually quite democratic. You need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (which covers about 2,500 American universities) in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. You must be between five feet, two inches and six feet, three inches tall, which includes about 95% of American men and 75% of American women.
Experience is required, but that qualification also leaves the door open for many; NASA defines “experience” as either a thousand hours of pilot-in-command time, or (more relevant for most) three years of professional experience–which ranges from getting a Ph.D. to being a K–12 teacher (of which there are over three million in the country).
You also have to be an American citizen and pass a physical. Notice that while the education requirements preclude very young applicants, there is no upper age limit. The last call for applicants in 2012 brought in 6,000 applications, and this time they expect even more. Why? Because this class of astronauts just may go to Mars. Read more about the astronaut program at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Flickr user NASA on The Commons)