What does it take to become an astronaut? Here’s what NASA says.
The next class of astronauts will be selected from thousands of applicants. Some of them may walk on the moon or be the first to set foot on Mars.
NASA’s next space travelers are vying for the job—by the thousands. During a brief window in March, 12,040 hopefuls applied to be members of the space agency’s next class of astronauts.
The first round of on-site interviews, originally scheduled for late September or early October, has been pushed back to next spring because of the pandemic, says Anne Roemer, NASA’s astronaut selection manager. “Now we just have more time to scrutinize the applications.”
Even without a pandemic in play, choosing NASA’s professional space travelers is no simple process. Astronauts need to be disciplined yet flexible, adventurous yet safety-conscious, capable of leading and following. They must possess a certain je ne sais quoi—in other words, the “right stuff.”
To find the optimal candidates,