Space Exploration 101

What do you want to be when you grow up? For sure, some kids would say: to become an astronaut. In fact, we all probably dreamed of the same thing at some point in our lives. There’s something about outer space that fascinates us. Proof of this are all the space-oriented books, movies and TV shows present in our pop culture.
 
But space exploration entails great discipline. Astronauts are trained through a human spaceflight program to either command, pilot or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. If you’re one of those dreaming to become an astronaut, here are some of the things you need to do before handing in that application:
 
STUDY FIRST!
One of the basic requirements of being an astronaut is having a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the International Space Station (ISS) can only accommodate six persons at a time because each exploration is quite pricey. That is why it is vital for NASA to send only highly qualified individuals to ensure the success of the mission.
 
BE PHYSICALLY FIT.
For obvious reasons, being healthy and fit is also one of NASA’s basic requirements to become an astronaut. You must have:
• A distant visual acuity of 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye
• A sitting blood pressure of 140/190
• Height between 62 and 75 inches tall
These basic physical characteristics ensure that you would be able to perform your job well while you are in orbit. An emergency flight back to earth due to a health concern may not be feasible.
 
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Astronauts in training
Image source: www.wordpress.com; www.jsc.nasa.gov
 
MORE TRAINING!
Once accepted into the program, you can’t be called a full-fledged astronaut just yet. Candidates must undergo a two-year rigid training in order to be space-ready. This includes learning about the International Space Station and the basics of spaceflight. Candidates also undergo military water training, swimming tests and are exposed to extreme conditions, such as high and low atmospheric pressures. These rigorous activities are designed to prepare potential astronauts to what they may experience in orbit.
 
However, there’s no assurance that right after training, successful astronauts will immediately go to space. Most of NASA’s astronauts work as support crew to other astronauts in orbit. This is another form of training for them to gain more knowledge and skills so that when it’s their turn to fly into orbit, they will be better equipped.
 
Once an astronaut is scheduled for a mission, he spends a few more years of training, which includes more classroom learning and simulation trainings—but this time, these would be held all over the world. He will also get a chance to train with his crewmates so they will be more familiar with each other and their specific responsibilities.
 
It should also be noted that astronauts don’t just spend their time working solely with NASA. They also work with the agency’s international partners, such as training facilities in Canada.
 
We all know that the universe is vast with hidden mysteries waiting to be discovered. If you dream of being an astronaut, you must be dedicated enough to face all the challenges that you might encounter. When you love what you’re doing, you’ll be able to surpass everything in order to reach your dream—and yes, even outer space.
 
 
Sources:
http://www.space.com/25786-how-to-become-an-astronaut.html
https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_Astronaut_Requirements.html
http://science.howstuffworks.com/question5341.htm
https://www.quora.com/Why-do-NASA-astronauts-need-to-have-a-degree-in-math-or-science
 
 
By: Jeroh P. Hiyastro – Panahon.TV Intern

Jeroh Hiyastro

Jeroh Hiyastro

“I really love the mysteries that the universe holds and I also enjoy sharing them to other people.” - 5th year student, BS Astronomy Technology, RTU