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Do You Have the Right Stuff To Be an Astronaut?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the to-the-moon dept.

NASA 229

Hugh Pickens writes "Do you have what it takes to become an astronaut? NASA, the world's leader in space and aeronautics, is now hiring outstanding scientists, engineers, and other talented professionals until January 27, 2012 for full time, permanent employment to carry forward the great discovery process that its mission demands. 'Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. And a probing mind.' To qualify, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in science, engineering or mathematics. Certain degrees are immediate disqualifiers, including nursing, social sciences, aviation, exercise physiology, technology, and some psychology degrees, too. The job listing mandates '1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft' unless you have three years of 'related, progressively responsible, professional experience' like being an astronaut somewhere else maybe? 'Since astronauts will be expected to fly on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, they must fit Russia's physical requirements for cosmonauts. That means no one under 5 foot 2 inches or over 6 foot 3 inches.' Applicants brought in for interviews will be measured to make sure they meet the job application's 'anthropometric requirements.' You'll need to pass a drug test, a comprehensive background check, a swimming test, and have 20/20 vision in each eye and it almost goes without saying that candidates will need to be in 'incredible shape.' Applicants must pass NASA's long-duration space flight physical, which evaluates individuals based on 'physical, physiological, psychological, and social' stressors, like one's ability to work in small, confined spaces for hours on end. And of course...'Frequent travel may be required.'"

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Kerbal Space Program (5, Funny)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466632)

I'm not sure if I'm a good astronaut, but I'm hell of a good guy to design space shuttles. I've been playing Kerbal Space Program [kerbalspaceprogram.com] lately so I know this stuff. If someone is a good astronaut contact me!

Re:Kerbal Space Program (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466698)

You mean like diapers, mace, a bb-gun, duct tape and a hammer?

Re:Kerbal Space Program (4, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467058)

You sir are spreading nonsensical and malicious rumors about our astronauts. The astronaut we are discussing did not have any duct tape, on her person or in the trunk of her car parked at the airport. I think you are confusing it with the surgical tubing and/or the folding knife.

Re:Kerbal Space Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467414)

Definitely the craziest bitch I've heard of in recent years, that's for sure...

Re:Kerbal Space Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467440)

Yeah, Lisa Nowak is soo hot! I can't believe she didn't get some porn offers after her trial.

I'm 6'6" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466644)

No Soyuz for me :(

Re:I'm 6'6" (4, Funny)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466860)

I have enough stuff for two astronauts.

Re:I'm 6'6" (4, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467110)

That's a bit ambiguous. Would that impress the ladies or strike fear in the hearts of Chinese food buffet owners everywhere?

Hmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466648)

Just finished a box of Kraft Dinner and I'm sitting here reading Slashdot... go ahead and mark a 'no' down for me.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466752)

Don't count yourself out just yet. If you can tolerate a kraft dinner you certainly could live on whatever astronauts are fed.

No chance. (2)

Avarist (2453728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466652)

Too bad they only hire the best of the best. Even if they'd send 1.000 people into space, it'd still wouldn't be enough to have any statistically significant chance of being accepted.

Re:No chance. (1)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466674)

it'd still wouldn't be enough to have any statistically significant chance of being accepted.

Now that's the spirit!

Re:No chance. (2)

Avarist (2453728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467014)

My point is, it's like they'd announce they're recruiting James Bonds' or Presidents.

Re:No chance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466814)

Too bad they only hire the best of the best. Even if they'd send 1.000 people into space, it'd still wouldn't be enough to have any statistically significant chance of being accepted.

... that's not what "statistically significant" means. A difference is statistically significant if you can be confident it is larger than zero in the presence of noisy measurements. The size of the difference (from zero) is not directly relevant. Laypersons associate large differences with statistical significance because it is easier to be confident a difference is larger than zero when your noisy measurements exhibit large differences. However, a large difference with lots of data can still be statistically insignificant if there is a lot of variation, and a small difference with moderate amounts of data can be statistically significant if there is very little variation.

However, in this case, our measurements are basically without noise, so statistical significance doesn't make any sense; a non-zero number of people will selected.

Re:No chance. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467298)

The way I learned it, a statistically significant difference between two measurements definitely relates to the noise (if I'm understanding what you mean by noise). If the 'noise' causes a mean value to have a deviation for a given confidence (always happens unless you get exactly the same measurement on each sample... and then I would suspect the sampling technique), for you to tell if there really is a statistically significant difference between the two measurements, the difference needs to be greater than the deviation. Reason being is that if it falls within the deviation for that confidence level, it is falls under the curve of what counts for the mean value. i.e. you expect to have values on either side of the mean that you have said represents the mean, statistically. I may not be saying that clearly, but hopefully you get my drift.

Re:No chance. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467348)

I reread your post again... never mind, we're saying the same thing... I think.

Re:No chance. (5, Funny)

hodet (620484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467124)

Now remember son... "“No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you.” - Homer J Simpson.

NASA, the world's leader in space and aeronautics. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466680)

Really? How do your 'astronots' get into space again these days? Oh....yeah. Hope that stings.

NASA is the world leader in what? (5, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466684)

NASA, the world's leader in space and aeronautics

Say what?

In case you haven't noticed, NASA is the FORMER leader in space and aeronautics. Space access is now a Russian and European affair, and the Chinese are getting in the game. But the US dropped the ball: NASA is just an administration dedicated to sink money down the drain these days...

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (4, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466720)

Maybe if they /had/ the money to sink down the drain we wouldn't be having this problem..

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466806)

Yes I'm sure NASA spent every penny they received judiciously and none was spent on hookers and blow. None at all.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466942)

I can confidently say no NASA money was wasted on hookers and blow, in space. yet.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467032)

There's a sick cosmic irony in flying to space on the rockets of your former competitors. Considering the cool stuff NASA was doing with Apollo there isn't an excuse for not having a moon base by now.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467130)

Actually NASA's funding has been very stable [thethinkerblog.com] for the last 40 years.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467288)

Compare NASA's budget to the US Defense Budget. Stable nothing is still nothing.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467570)

I wish I could get even a small quantity of that "nothing." A nothing which funded hundreds of shuttle launches, both Voyager probes, several Mars probes, and dozens of miscellaneous projects. Amazing what nothing can get you these days.

Also, $15 billion (a year) isn't "nothing" even in congressional spending terms. One of the most expensive and advanced aircraft in the world (the F-22) cost only ~4 years at that budget. And that was stock full of pork.

Of course I would love to see them have more. Just pointing out that even for the US budget $15+ billion is a fair bit.

40 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467400)

When I was growing up, my parents would harp on how cheap things were in the good old days, when a hamburger from McDonald's cost a nickel or some such tripe.

If NASA's budget has remained stable for the past 40 years, I'm surprised they can afford toilet paper.

Re:40 years? (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467534)

If NASA's budget has remained stable for the past 40 years, I'm surprised they can afford toilet paper.

What the graph title means by "2000 Constant $" is that the figures are adjusted for inflation.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466784)

I suppose it depends on what you include. NASA is still a pretty strong first, with the European Space Agency in second, when it comes to scientific research in space, e.g. sending probes to other planets, the Hubble space telescope, etc.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466906)

And it ranks pretty high in actually getting probes to Mars, too.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466920)

yeah, I hate it those Russians and Europeans announcing all those super-earth and earth-sized worlds around other stars. And while we can only dream of having sent probes to all the planets like they have.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (3, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467082)

This is ANSI approved American chauvinism. It is standard practice to call anything American "the best in the world" without any data to back it up. Furthermore, if you dare question it you are considered "unpatriotic".

For example, traditionally people say that the USA armed forces are "the best fighting force in the world". While certainly the best equipped and nothing to sneer at, over the last 70 years the title "best fighting force" squarely belongs to the Viet Minh army which defeated, in sequence, the much superior armies of Japan and Vichy France (World War II), the French Republic (first Indochina war), the French Republic again (second Indochina war), the USA (Vietnam war) and the Chinese army (third Indochina war, admittedly considered a draw by some).

If you were to bring up that point at a bar, you might as well save time and ask for a wedgie to begin with.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467708)

The U.S. got to the moon first. What more proof do you need?

Also, as to the best military: the Vietcong didn't save Europe twice. And let's not pretend that nuclear weapons could turn the entire Vietnam peninsula into a sinking, smoking wreck in about two days.

Read more, hate less, please.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467230)

I'm not sure I follow. While NASA is certainly having issues, none of the other programs are particularly stronger.

Russia: Riding the coat-tails of good design decisions many years ago (not that there's anything wrong with that, I wish we had a Soyuz-like design). Soyuz is simple and reliable and they can just keep on flying them without significant development costs. However, as indicated by their recent Mars probe their new development efforts have unfortunately decayed -- GRUNT suffered from not enough money to support decent redundancy and contingency planning.

Chinese: New and developing, and building on Soviet technology. I hope their efforts will be strong and civil-focused, even after the geo-political advantages fade, but in anything but currently being able to reproduce Soviet results with plenty of money, there's nothing I'm too worried about.

Europeans: Here's where you lost me. If your criteria was 'currently being able to fly people' then I could understand (but disagree), but the ESA is essentially a peer to the science mission directorate at NASA, with no manned capability. Considering EU budgets are even more problematic than the US budget I wouldn't say that their taking the lead, though I hope they remain valuable partners.

Personally, I'm tired of all the negativity about the NASA right now. Its been a rough few years, with no one in charge having enough sense to put NASA's manned program on a sustainable course. Now though, even with this SLS nonsense, we're finally on a path to develop robust access capabilities with multiple capsules on multiple launch vehicles. The unmanned programs are shining brightly still, with 3 launches, a comet flyby, the first vehicle in orbit of an asteroid, and the first spacecraft arriving at Mercury this year. We've continued to find more and stronger evidence of water on Mars, and have found ever-more Earth-like exo-planets. Not too shabby for one year.

Re:NASA is the world leader in what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467460)

I'm not sure I follow. While NASA is certainly having issues, none of the other programs are particularly stronger..

Says it all doesn't it? How are they a "World Leader" if they can't even get themselves into space? Sure, the other agencies are playing catchup, that is, the race never ended, but for some reason NASA has been benched. It won't take that long for the others to catch up. As noted, they already lead in one particularly crucial area.

Maybe NASA doesn't deserve the hate, but the country they are located in, does.

confined spaces (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466686)

>like one's ability to work in small, confined spaces for hours on end.

Does a computer desk surrounded by a clutter of coke cans and stacks of pizza boxes count? I guarantee its more confined than your roomy shuttle!

Height discrimination (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466706)

That means no one under 5 foot 2 inches or over 6 foot 3 inches

Discrimination! I'm in the "best of the best", but at 6'7" excluded by this requirement. Dwarves may have legislation banning unreasonable discrimination against them, but us giants are people too!

Small Print (5, Funny)

jaylen (59655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466708)

Small print at the bottom of the job advertisement -

'Astronaut must show ability to hold out right-hand with thumb up, and know enough Russian to 'ask for a lift.'

Re:Small Print (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467470)

know enough Russian to 'ask for a lift.'

"Odin jezda na kosmose, pozalujsta. Spasibo."

(I'm probably massacring that, and await the thousand irate Slavic Slashdotters bickering over my declensions)

GATTACA (4, Interesting)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466714)

You'd just about have to be genetically engineered to make those requirements.

Re:GATTACA (1)

Wabbit Wabbit (828630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466994)

Came here to post this as well. And to think my mod points expired yesterday. Sorry I couldn't mod you up.

Re:GATTACA (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467384)

I think the same thing

Physical fitness. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467404)

I would like know why they need people in great physical condition when you're just floating around in space.

Secondly, all that great physical ability atrophies rather quickly.

Eyesight? My only guess is that they don't want you bring glasses. SO get Lasiks or whatever the latest method at laser corrective eye surgery these days is called.

Ambitious people? Sounds like they want people like the assholes who went to the law school my ex went to. They would take resumes of their classmates out of the job fair pile to better their chances. They were plenty ambitious.

Or is it they want folks who'll work themselves ragged at the slim chance of getting into space? It'd be easier to get filthy rich and pay someone to drive the bus up their for you. Yeah! That's a stat problem: compare the odds of becoming an astronaut with becoming someone rich enough to pay the Russians or even Virgin to send you up. The hard work I'd guess would cancel out of the equation. To bcome an astronaut the variables would be fgx and to become rich: abx. So compare fg with ab.

applicants (4, Funny)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466742)

20/20 vision? Incredible shape? This is slashdot, that means none of us qualify.

Re:applicants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466984)

20/20 vision? That keeps out most of the Asian applicants. Able to swim? - Indians and Muslims need not apply either.

lasik and glasses / contacts are ok (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467106)

lasik and glasses / contacts are ok

Re:applicants (1)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467034)

I don't know...

like one's ability to work in small, confined spaces for hours on end

Do cubicles or basements count?

I just read this ad... (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466744)

"Career-driven individuals wanted for out of this world opportunity. Stock options in lieu of salary, this is not a pyramid scheme"

Weren't NASA headhunters once? Did they not have a bottomless pit for a budget? Now they have to appeal to the Geek community for talent that's otherwise wasted in gainful productive employment?

Incidentally, I won't be applying, since I don't fit the physical profile (I'm 6 foot 8). Guess I'll have to wait until space travel (or at least LEO) is in financial reach of the Everyman.

Job requirement addendum (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466764)

* The excessively flatulent need not apply.

Re:Job requirement addendum (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467240)

* The excessively flatulent need not apply.

Define "excessively".

Volume?
Frequency?
Decibels?

20/20 Vision? (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466798)

20/20 vision? Like Daniel Burbank [spacefacts.de] , Steve Frick [nasa.gov] , or Don Pettit [nasa.gov]

Re:20/20 Vision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466992)

and twenty/twenty aint that great.

Re:20/20 Vision? (1)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467168)

Have you read the actual job application? "Distant and near visual acuity: Must be correctable to 20/20, each eye"

Re:20/20 Vision? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467178)

Don Pettit? That's Steve Jobs reincarnated.

i would *like* to be an astronaut... (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466802)

But I know flat out that I would never make the cut.

Over the past year, I have grown sideways considerably.
I also have rather pronounced astigmatism, and a mitralvalve prolapse, on top of carpel tunnel and occult gangaleon cysts in my wrists.

I would NEVER get passed the physical.

That said, I would have no trouble with the psychological aspects. I actually *like* confined spaces, as long as the airflow is good. Working with others could be a problem, but the hiring reqs would ensure that stupid people are disqualified, so that would be ok. If I have to explain what the words "heuristic" and "obfuscate" mean, I won't be able to work effectively with the team. Effective communication is essential for that. If they are competent, have more than a 500 word vocabulary, and are professional it is all good.

Eventually though, NASA and ESA are going to have to send ordinary people up, if they ever intend to do any kind of space based manufacturing, or permanent space based habitats. People aren't going to like jumping through insane hurdles, just to be a space janitor. Best just to hire a regular janitor that meets some core competencies so he doesn't blow himself out an airlock or get water into an instrument panel.

While being fit is important for space vocations, I suspect most of the fitness requirements center around looking sexy for TV. The hiring guidelines for astronauts in the US and Russia were created during the biggest PR penis waving contest of the last century, and being sexy for cameras was very important for political reasons. I suspect there is a very large amount of beaurocratic inertia on those guidelines, and that many of the physical fitness reqs are not actually necessary for the job, but have been retained because being too picky is less troublesome than getting new guidelines through regulatory approval.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (4, Insightful)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466912)

While being fit is important for space vocations, I suspect most of the fitness requirements center around looking sexy for TV. The hiring guidelines for astronauts in the US and Russia were created during the biggest PR penis waving contest of the last century, and being sexy for cameras was very important for political reasons. I suspect there is a very large amount of beaurocratic inertia on those guidelines, and that many of the physical fitness reqs are not actually necessary for the job, but have been retained because being too picky is less troublesome than getting new guidelines through regulatory approval.

Have you ever tried to breathe while your extra 40 pounds of belly fat are pressing against your diaphragm at 4 Gs? Heck, the centrifuge-type ride at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville had me struggling to breathe, and I'm sure it doesn't pull nearly that many Gs.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467136)

If it is anything like breathing under 6ft of water through a hose, I can do it. *shrug*

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (1)

arobadog (246344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467614)

I doubt 6ft (1/5 ATM) would be enough to duplicate the experience of 4 Gs, maybe 4 ATMs of pressure would be closer. The air pressure at sea level is one atmosphere of pressure (1 ATM). Pressure increases at the rate of 1 ATM every 33 feet of water depth. This would be equivalent to someone with a PADI Advanced Open Water certification, maybe even with the Deep Water add on.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467054)

"While being fit is important for space vocations, I suspect most of the fitness requirements center around looking sexy for TV."

For a supposedly smart person you are extremely ignorant of the physical rigors of high velocity travel.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (4, Insightful)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467514)

nonsense! i've been traveling at about 66,000mph for decades. it isn't that hard.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467666)

You mean high delta-v travel. Not high velocity travel. When not accellerating or decellerating, there would be no noteworthy g-stresses on the body.

This is actually part of the problem with bone and muscle deterioration. Freefall induced microgravity actually *reduces* riggors on the body which promote healthy muscle and bone tissue. It is actually the pressure against bones and muscles caused by exerting them in a gravity well which keeps bones dense. A few studies with genetically bone atrophied mice showed that increasing ambient stresses against their bones rebuilt bone mass. (They used a vibrating plate to introduce additional skeletal shock forces.)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929696/ [nih.gov]

Most of these degeneration effects could be effectively eliminated with proper habitat construction. This means that they are much less of an issue if properly addressed.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467056)

I suspect most of the fitness requirements center around looking sexy for TV

And minor issues like surviving the launch, not having your muscles and bones deteriorate too much due to micro gravity, surviving re-enrty after said deterioration...

Having to send up 3 janitors because the first two died is not very economical, nor is paying for excess fuel because the personnel ate too many pies.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467156)

Similar specifications exist for any remote work. You also will not get assigned to a base to overwinter in Antarctica if you are not demonstrably healthy. The last thing a space mission wants to deal with is a serious medical problem. How do you know people are actually healthy? You push them physically to see what happens. On top of the medical aspects, you want people who have the physical and mental stamina to be efficient and to tolerate problems -- like long hours of strenuous work and emergency conditions that might require strength, intelligence, little sleep, and possibly surviving in low oxygen environments (re: Apollo 13).

Your hypothetical, ordinary space janitor could cost a LOT of money if he or she had to be sent back to Earth due to an unexpected medical issue. They'll waste a lot of expensive resources if they don't do their job efficiently. Unless and until space travel becomes as cheap and easy as flying a commercial airline there are always going to be stringent health requirements. The suggestion it is done mainly for "looking sexy for TV" is ridiculous. It's for practical reasons of safety, money, and increasing the odds of completing the mission successfully even in potentially dangerous situations.

In other words: shape up or dream on.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467526)

The implication was not that 250lb tubs of lard should be accepted. The implication was that you don't have to be a 170lb addonas with washboard abs, and a pretty smile.

There are people with a "heavy" build that are perfectly healthy and fit. The physical characterisitics sheet disqualifies such people. (My dad had such an endomorphic build. The police dept he worked for introduced rules to combat police obesity, which enforced BMI requirements. Ended up lethargic and emaciated bones to reach the required BMI for his height because he really does have heavy musculature and bones. Ended up getting a medical exemption with a doctor's order. His "healthy and fit" weight was right at 200lbs for a 5'6" man. He would never meet russian body requirements, even in tiptop shape. I understand the "million dollars per kilogram" fuel requirement. I also realize that those requirements coincide nicely with "idealized" perceptions of attractiveness. I have yet to see a truly butt ugly astronaut.)

Then you have the eyesight requirement. Many astronauts in current service have nowhere near 20/20. Unless you are myopic as hell, or have insane astigmatism like I do, the 20/20 req is madness, since you won't keep that if you stay in space anyway. Most astronauts forgo eyetests after missions for this very reason, yet they still seem able to do their jobs just fine.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467482)

If you have a problem with stupid people, I'm going to hazard a guess that you like to label people stupid based on them doing something stupid. Everyone does something stupid occasionally, in which case you won't be OK on the working with people part.

Re:i would *like* to be an astronaut... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467580)

No, I label people stupid when they repeatedly do the same stupid things, and actively refuse education and correction.

People who revel in their ignorance, refuse to better themselves when given every possible opportunity, and fail at basic logic and show no inclination to improve themselves are people I consider stupid.

As such your assumption is wrong. Everyone does make mistakes, and I am no exception. Refusal to grow, improve, and learn on the other hand, is the hallmark of being stupid.

Disqualifiers...? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466808)

"Certain degrees are immediate disqualifiers".... TFA says that those degrees aren't qualifiers, not that they are disqualifiers. I'm sure if you had a degree in nursing AND a degree in a qualifying field, you wouldn't be disqualified...

Let me sum it up for 99.99% of you... (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466818)

Short answer: no.

Longer answer:

A) are you a military pilot with thousands of hours in high-performance jets? If not, forget anything resembling a "pilot" seat.

B) do you regularly publish world-class scientific papers, travel the world on exotic geology expeditions, and run highly successful educational programs all across the world? Or, any three or four similar accomplishments, before age 25... If not, you're not competitive in the "outstanding scientist" category.

C) are you a talented engineer or other professional? If so, you're more valuable on the ground than in front of the world television spotlight.

Sorry to be cynical, when I was 6 years old (1973) "astronaut" was a valid answer to the "what do you want to be when you grow up?" question. In 1973, space travel seemed like it was "going places," but, so far, it hasn't. You would have been much more realistic if you aspired to be a NFL quarterback or highly recognized movie star starting at age 6 in 1973.

Let's hope things are better than they seem for the future of space travel, now nearly 40 years later.

Re:Let me sum it up for 99.99% of you... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467080)

B) do you regularly publish world-class scientific papers, travel the world on exotic geology expeditions

Geology is not a real science [youtube.com]

I was under the impression that..... (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466820)

Since astronauts are supposed to go to space, does that mean that NASA is going to get some budget for rockets? Or are they going to dust the old Appollo and Gemini leftovers?

To ride on a Russian rocket? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466824)

Ohhhh, PLEASE, Mr Putin... can we ride on your spaceships? World leader? Gag a maggot. We used to be but lost our national will. We became obsessed with arts and trinkets, as Londo Mollari would say, and yes, we've become a tourist attraction. (Posting as AC so I can use my mod points)

Re:To ride on a Russian rocket? (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467172)

If I had mod points, you would get them.

Sadly not (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466828)

I doubt they'd take asthmatics, myopics, or those without binocular vision, much as I'd love to.

Physical requirements... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466882)

Speaking as someone who needs to hit the gym in 26 minutes, I have to wonder whether the physical requirements are somewhat counter-productive. If you just want to strap a person to a rocket and send them into space for a few hours, it might make sense to require that they be in excellent physical condition. But historically, I don't think most colonists and explorers have been exactly body builders. I mean, just think about it for a second. Most of the people who travel long distances for a living are in downright terrible shape. It takes a lot of infrastructure to maintain a person in top physical condition. Cramming them into a tiny capsule where they can barely move for long periods is not exactly the ideal environment. If the goal is to send humans into space, why would we only choose those with the highest support infrastructure requirements?

Re:Physical requirements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466980)

From wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Medical data from astronauts in low earth orbits for long periods, dating back to the 1970s, show several adverse effects of a microgravity environment: loss of bone density, decreased muscle strength and endurance, postural instability, and reductions in aerobic capacity. Over time these deconditioning effects can impair astronauts’ performance or increase their risk of injury.

Speaking as someone who sometimes has trouble climbing the basement stairs in the morning, muscle atrophy would probably get me killed five days into the mission if they ever sent me up there.

Re:Physical requirements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467144)

According to wikipedia, NASA has estimated the cost of each shuttle mission at $450 million (this is a bit more than their original estimate of $10 million....). Do the math, that works out to about $60 million per astronaut. For that money, the scouting of prospects better be at least as thorough as the preparations made by MLB and NFL teams for their annual player drafts. "Yeah he was out of shape, but he was excited about space travel and had a great sense of humor" would not have gone over well as a post-mission explanation of how a failed astronaut ended up in space.

Re:Physical requirements... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467146)

If you cram someone in a tiny capsule for long periods of time, it stands to reason the ones who were in better shape to begin with will come out in better shape. Not only that, fatties weigh more than non-fatties. Weight = Fuel = $$$

Re:Physical requirements... (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467434)

Yeah, but if they hired you today, you're not going into space tomorrow. You're at the back of line, leaving plenty of time get into shape. Like most want ads, this one was written by someone at a desk, someone with an ass every bit as wide as yours, who is relying on folklore and inertia as much as actual experience in crafting the requirements.

Re:Physical requirements... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467566)

You're at the back of line, leaving plenty of time get into shape.

But if they hired someone already in shape, that person would have plenty of time to get into even better shape.

Re:Physical requirements... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467594)

and you can't fire someone because they failed to lose weight, thats got to be some politically correct human rights bollocks

About that height... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466916)

no one under 5 foot 2 inches or over 6 foot 3 inches

Most Soviet armor vehicles had a 5 ft 4 in crew height limit in order to minimize crew space requirements. Would a similar requirement make sense for astronauts?

I came here for the homer simpson jokes..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466918)

How disappointing....

Close... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466952)

Close. I was totally on board until the 'frequent travel' part.

Really? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38466976)

All that, and they still allow you in if you believe in god.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467540)

Could be worse... they could be focused on putting vocal minorities with severe inferiority complexes up there. *shudders*

But..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467044)

What if I bring my own inanimate carbon rod?

Frequent Travel?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467118)

More like "Infrequent, but long-distance, high-speed travel - must not be prone to getting car-sick or sea-sick".

My article didn't have enough right stuff (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467170)

When I submitted this story way back when: http://slashdot.org/submission/1856686/nasa-now-seeking-candidates-for-astronaut-posistio [slashdot.org]

Now ain't that ironic? So I guess I am really at the bottom of the astronaut list . . .

Ridiculous.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467236)

I'm sorry, but immediately disqualifying people for the degrees "nursing, social sciences, aviation, exercise physiology, technology, and some psychology degrees" is ridiculous.

Have you ever heard of somebody who was good at math, science, etc. but didn't have that as a degree? Maybe they were a genius and decided to study OTHER subjects in school, because they didn't need to study ONLY math or science. Or maybe they have a multitude of experience that includes STEM but their degree only says BA liberal arts? Or maybe they don't even HAVE a degree but are a talented engineer who can fix anything?!

Really, I bet they have an algorithm, weed out "non-perfect" keyword matching people, and only then consider resumes, just like every other automated job application process.

I may be bitter about having a liberal arts degree myself (and being extremely technical otherwise), and no chance in hell in getting into the astronaut program, but what happened to all the bullsh*t about the value of transdisciplinary knowledge? How are we going to succeed in space when the only people we send up there are STEM experts? Where is the balance?

A lot more people (with a lot wider diversity) need to have a shot at making it into space (and we need more rides into space) for us to become a permanently space-faring and space-surviving species. I'm sorry, it's that simple.

STEM is great, don't get me wrong - and it is extremely necessary in this field. But don't count everyone else out because they don't have a "technical" degree on paper.

Re:Ridiculous.. (2)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467548)

no, it's just a moronic summary. those degrees don't qualify, but neither do they disqualify you. the reason for requiring a math/eng/sci degree is because you'd be doing systems maintenance; this is for a specific job track, not just generic "astronaut". it's a reasonable requirement imho.

Apparently Not! (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467260)

I never thought about it before but reading this I'm surprised that I meet none of the requirements whatsoever! Not one! And I really don't think of myself as a hopeless case. Verily, these astronauts are like unto gods!

Disqualifiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467424)

Wait. So If I have an engineering degree, and thousands of flight hours, great physical shape and perfect eyesight, BUT I happened out of pure hyperactive studiousness to ALSO have a degree in social sciences or something, I'm automatically disqualified?

(Not that I have anything but the first two)

Only me! (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467448)

Astronaut https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronaut [wikipedia.org] no but a Cosmonaut yes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmonaut#Russian [wikipedia.org] have you sat on a sky rocket today?

Re:Only me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467542)

In the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and many other English-speaking nations, a professional space traveler is called an astronaut.

So what part of that did you not understand?

Re:Only me! (0)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467632)

In the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and many other English-speaking nations, a professional space traveler is called an astronaut.

So what part of that did you not understand?

I understand correctly; but appreciate your uncanny below the belt comment. If you truly understood what you were talking about you would be dangerous. That is a below the belt reply. Obviously that was not what you were expecting anonymous coward!

hang on but that is all you are a coward.

Mooo00o0000oo00o0

Drugtest?? (2)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467602)

This is racism! Else I would qualify... Besides, who better to keep em head cool when need is be. Peace out, brothers. - signed, Santax, nephew of Sanka, famous from the Jamaican bobslee team. -

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467678)

Next question.
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