Many children dream that one day they will be ones piloting a spacecraft as it travels towards a distant planet. To be an astronaut is one of the most exciting jobs, and NASA has recently announced that it plans to boost the number of astronauts soon.
At this point, 48 people are a part of the astronaut corps, but new missions are planned in the following years as the American space agency plans to return to the Moon and reach the Red Planet. Only a limited number of spots will be available, and the competition appears to be quite fierce as many people would like to explore space.
The list of requirements has been published, and they are high but fair. Interested persons should have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, physical science, computer science, or other relevant STEM fields.
The requirements for becoming an astronaut at NASA
Besides the degree, they will also need to have at least three years of relevant professional experience. This can be replaced by 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time spent aboard a jet aircraft. However, an advanced degree may replace the required experience level in some cases. A master’s degree can be converted into one year experience, and a doctoral degree can replace three years of experience.
Teaching experience is also valid even if it was earned during K-12 levels, as long as the degree is in a Science, Engineering, or Mathematics field.
There are also a few medical stipulations. Candidates will need to have a visual acuity of 20/20, which must be correctable. The use of glasses is allowed, along with refractive surgical procedures for the eyes, PRK and LASIK. It is essential to highlight that while these operations can be performed, they are not required to be a potential applicant. The participants will also have to pass an intensive physical training. The last class of astronauts was select from more than 18,000 applicants.