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So You Want To Be An Astronaut

1016 words - 5 pages

The one question you hear all the time as a little kid is “what do you want to be when you grow up.” Most children give the same three answers: doctor, lawyer, or astronaut. The adult who asked the question usually replies with a little chuckle underneath their breath because they know what achieving one of these prestigious jobs entail. In today’s world only the elite will ever have a chance of receiving such an astounding career opportunity. Now, looking back at the top three answers given by children, the reality of becoming a doctor or a lawyer is much more likely than receiving the job as an astronaut. Today the qualifications you must meet to be eligible for this career include: exceling in an array of required skills, passing rigorous physical exams all while finding a unique way to distinguish your self from the thousands of other hopeful applicants.
When asking former astronaut Robert Lee Gibson about his experiences at NASA one question came to mind, “ What do you tell little kids when they say that they want to be an astronaut?” He said, I always tell each and every one of them the same thing, “ excel in school, get your pilot license, and learn how to play the piano.” He believes that having a well-rounded application is the only way that NASA will even remember your name. Thousands of applicants apply with the same boring information about all of their advanced degrees, fancy awards, and prestigious schooling. However, they are constantly on the look out for someone unique who will bring a new set of skills to the table. NASA currently receives between 4,000 to 8,000 applications each round, and out of all of those applicants only a minute 35 are selected. In 2013, however, NASA received 6,000 applications and narrowed it down to only 8 people to become trainees on the space shuttle program. Now when Mr. Gibson is advising students who dream of becoming an astronaut he advises them to have an alternate back up plan in case they do not meet the required standards needed to advance in the program. NASA has recently changed their requirements for becoming an astronaut. In the past they would look for at least a 1,000 hours in flight time, currently they are looking for someone who has at least 3 years of experience in their specific field. There is no specific ability that you must meet to be looked at however; NASA tends to look at applicants who “undertake whatever they do with the full force of their abilities to reach a level of excellence.” When the top 100 applications are selected personality is what matters the most. The applicant must undergo a personal interview with a board of NASA executives to decide whether they like you or not. Personality is something that is a must when you are chosen to go up in space. Being in a small space for up to six months...

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