For everyone out there looking for a new job, NASA posted a job opening for their next batch of astronaut candidates.

It never occurred to me that this is the kind of job you could just apply for, but there it is. People don't just wake up as astronauts.


Thinking about busting out the resume?

Here are five things NASA's job description reveals about what it takes to be an astronaut.


1. They'll want to know pretty much everything about you.

Image by tigerlily713/Pixabay.

The position includes a background check, a health check, a financial check, and a drug check. And you have to be a U.S. citizen. Plus you have to have five, yes five, references.

That said, they've tried to make the process at least a little less intimidating.

"We try to make it just as laid back and informal as we can. Obviously, the person will bring a lot of stress and excitement," Duane Ross, manager of the Astronaut Selection Office, told Popular Science in a 2013 interview. "There are no trick questions or equations on a board — the interview is about them."

2. You've got to like traveling.

"Frequent travel may be required," says the job ad. Yeah, I bet.

And you'll need to get used to paperwork. The story goes that the crew of Apollo 11 had to fill out customs forms after returning from the moon!

You'll need to fill some out too, but that's more because you'll be visiting a lot of different nations, rather than any fears of illegal (literal) aliens. Astronauts may need to travel to Japan, Europe, Russia, or really any other space-fairing nation in order to train with their personnel and equipment.

You won't have to pay for it out of pocket, luckily. NASA's got you covered. They even reimbursed Buzz Aldrin after he submitted a travel voucher to the moon. The cost? $33. A lot cheaper than the quarter of a million dollars Virgin Galactic sells their space tickets for.

Plus, you've got to move to Texas.

3. You've got to fit in a space suit.

Image from Christopher Michel/Flickr.

Specifically, you have to be between 5’2” and 6’3” tall. And don’t have high blood pressure. It’s also OK to wear glasses (or get laser eye surgery), but you’ve got to be able to see what you’re doing.

You’ve got to be a good educational fit as well. They want at least a bachelor’s degree for this round of applications, and it’s got to be in science, math, or engineering.

4. Yes, you get dental.

Image from Barbaricino/Wikimedia Commons.

As a candidatem you’ll be making the equivalent of at least $33 an hour, plus benefits, including health and life insurance.

Funnily enough, it wasn’t always this way. The story goes that the Apollo 11 astronauts couldn’t afford the life insurance that something as dangerous as going to the moon would require. So instead, they filled out hundreds of signatures.

"If they did not return from the moon, their families could sell them," said Robert Pearlman, a space historian and collector in a 2012 article from NPR, “to not just fund their day-to-day lives, but also fund their kids' college education and other life needs.”

5. You might have to wait a while to get to space.

First of all, you’ve got to complete a two-year training program before you earn your space wings (side note: Space Wings is my Prog Rock Paul McCartney cover band).

But even then, blast off might take some time. There’s only so much space in the space station and though NASA technically employs 47 active astronauts right now, only two — Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra — are currently orbiting.

But there'll be plenty to do once you get there.

Though the Space Shuttle has been retired, there’s still plenty for NASA to do. There are plans for a new launch system, a mission to Europa — one of Jupiter’s moons — and the capture of a near-Earth asteroid.

Basically.

Capturing an asteroid sounds crazy, but it could be the first step toward mining them. Lifting stuff off the Earth is really expensive and difficult, but if we could actually manufacture space stuff in space itself, we could open up a lot of possibilities. Plus there's the fact that some asteroids are chock-full of valuable or rare metals, which could make some people very rich if they could get their hands on them.

Plus there's Mars. NASA wants to get a human being on the red planet in the 2030s. And Curiosity, NASA’s chattiest rover, just tweeted some new pictures of stuff it found. What a time to be alive!


It's a big ol' universe out there. I, for one, am excited to get out there and see it.

GIF via Discovery/YouTube.

True

It takes a special type of person to become a nurse. The job requires a combination of energy, empathy, clear mind, oftentimes a strong stomach, and a cheerful attitude. And while people typically think of nursing in a clinical setting, some nurses are driven to work with the people that feel forgotten by society.

Keep Reading Show less

Prior to baby formula, breastfeeding was the norm, but that doesn't mean it always worked.

As if the past handful of years weren't challenging enough, the U.S. is currently dealing with a baby formula crisis.

Due to a perfect storm of supply chain issues, product recalls, labor shortages and inflation, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with formula demand and retailers are rationing supplies. As a result, families that rely on formula are scrambling to ensure that their babies get the food they need.

Naturally, people are weighing in on the crisis, with some throwing out simplistic advice like, "Why don't you just do what people did before baby formula was invented and just breastfeed?"

That might seem logical, unless you understand how breastfeeding works and know a bit about infant mortality throughout human history.

Keep Reading Show less

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

True

The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

Your cat knows you better than you think.

Cats are often seen as being aloof or standoffish, even with their owners. Of course, that differs based on who that cat lives with and their lifetime of experience with humans. But when compared to man’s best friend, cats usually seem less interested in those around them, regardless of species.

However, a new study out of Japan has found that cats may be paying more attention to their fellow felines and human friends than most people thought. In fact, they could be listening to human conversations.

"What we discovered is astonishing," Saho Takagi, a research fellow specializing in animal science at Azabu University in Kanagawa Prefecture, told The Asahi Shimbun. "I want people to know the truth. Felines do not appear to listen to people's conversations, but as a matter of fact, they do."

How do we know they’re listening? Because the study shows that household cats often know the names of their human and feline friends.

Keep Reading Show less

Yuri has a very important message for his co-workers.

While every person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is different, there are some common communication traits that everyone should understand. Many with ASD process language literally and have a hard time understanding body language, social cues, exaggeration and cultural cues.

This can lead to misunderstandings that result in people with ASD appearing to be rude when it wasn't their intent. If more neurotypical people (those without ASD) better understood these communication differences, it’d be much easier for everyone to get along.

A perfect example of this problem and how to fix it was shared by Yuri, a transmasc person who goes by he/they, who posts on TikTok about having ADHD and ASD. In a post that has more than 2.3 million views, Yuri claims he was “booked for a disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator.”

Keep Reading Show less