A record number of over 18,000 people signed up to be astronauts for NASA’s 2017 class of men and women who will be exploring beyond the boundaries of our planet. Whether this is due to highly-anticipated Journey to Mars or flicks like The Martian and Interstellar, it’s unknown.
- The application program opened on December 14th 2015 and closed on February 18th 2016
- A record number of 18,300 people signed up
- The previous record was in 1978 of 8,000 applicants
- This is the first recruitment call NASA made since 2012
Back on December 14th 2015, NASA announced that they’re opening up slots for future space programs. It was a monumental moment for numerous space enthusiasts, since the last call the space agency made was back in 2012. Now, it declared itself ready to open up its doors, participate in interviews, and recruit applicants ready to dare venture where only a few have.
And, the population certainly responded with an incredible number of people eagerly waiting for their chance to travel through space. NASA closed sign-ups on February 18th, 2016, and reported a record number of 18,300 people ready to go through the grueling process becoming astronauts. According to Charlie Bolden, NASA’s administrator, it’s “not at all surprising” that so many applied from a great variety of background due to the upcoming Journey to Mars.
The excitement seems to have reached its peak, and the public showed its response to the possibility of such a daring mission. It’s a good time to become an astronaut due to the major events noted in NASA’s agenda. Whether all of them will be checked off or not, it remains to be seen. And yet, it appears that space enthusiasts have full faith that the future will be littered with thrilling journeys and chances to make history.
In fact, the number of applicants is three times higher than the last recruitment call in 2012. Even more, it shattered the previous record of 8,000 eager aspiring astronauts that NASA saw in 1978.
However, it’s certainly not be said that all of them will get the opportunity for an interview at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Over the course of this year, officials will start weeding through the vast amount of names in search for those who are most highly qualified. And it’s certainly not the type of job with minimal requirements.
First off, all applicants must be U.S. citizens and have at least a bachelor’s degree in fields such as engineering, computer science, or math, along with 3 years of professional experience. Naturally, NASA is fully welcoming of engineers, scientists, and pilots. For the latter though, aspiring astronauts need to have clocked in at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time on a jet aircraft.
Applicants are also required to be physically fit and in good health to pass the “NASA long-duration astronaut physical”. That includes several space simulation tests that will stretch their bodies to astounding limits.
Among the 18,300 applicants though, only 8 to 14 of them will be accepted into the astronaut program. They will undergo proper training, after which they will be able to join several missions, such as boarding the International Space Station (ISS), and the Orion spacecraft that is meant for deep space exploration, like a manned journey to Mars. Or they could participate in future commercial crew programs such as the ones currently in development by SpaceX or Boeing.
It’s safe to say that the few lucky crew members chosen will have plenty to do once they get accepted.
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