We may not have a space shuttle anymore, but NASA still needs astronauts to pull shifts on the ISS and prep for missions to passing asteroids and (eventually) Mars. NASA has put out a call for applicants for the astronaut class of 2013. Think you have the right stuff? We'll see about that, nugget.
Going through the astronaut program may not be easy, but at least you don't have to be an experienced military test pilot anymore. You do have to have some other qualifications, though, which we've helpfully summarized for you:
- You need a bachelor's degree, and it can't be in some useless field like the social sciences.
- You have to be able to pass a flight physical for NASA and the Russians, which includes being both tall and short enough to stuff yourself inside a space suit: somewhere between 5'2" and 6'3".
- This is the tricky one: you need to have spent at least 1,000 hours as pilot-in-command of a jet aircraft. You can substitute three or more years of "progressively responsible, professional experience" (which includes K-12 teaching or a PhD), but that's not quite as cool.
- We may be relying entirely on other countries to get us into space at the moment, but U.S. citizenship is still required.
- You have to know how to swim. Oh, and you can't be wasted, stoned, buzzed, twisted, cheesed, moosed, frapped, wonked, plinked, mashed, lorped, or otherwise drugged up, because they're gonna test you for that.
NASA is planning to pick up to 15 new astronauts in 2013, and if they choose you, it means a starting salary of about $65k plus benefits, the requirement that you relocate to Texas, and oh yes, the possibility that you'll get an all expenses paid TRIP INTO TO SPACE. Tell you what, NASA, you can just go ahead and keep that salary of yours, and as long as you cover the travel, I'll work for you for free.
Applications are due Friday January 27, 2012, and finalists will be selected by October. Apply online at the link below, and I'd wish you luck, except one of you might take my spot. So get lost, slackers!