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NASA is hiring astronauts. Do you qualify?

Originally, the administration favored candidates with a military flight background, with at least 1, hours spent in command of a jet aircraft. In , however, NASA shifted its focus to a more diverse group of astronauts: scientists and engineers with at least three years of experience in their respective fields, referred to as mission specialists. During the years of shuttle missions, everyone had a specialty; some would focus on robotics, others on spacewalks or maintenance.

ISSET - Mission Discovery, Summer School, Space Camp, STEM Programme

Now, to work on the space station, astronauts must be able to perform all tasks, which encourages applicants to acquire a diversity of experiences. NASA has always required its astronauts to hold a degree in engineering, math or science. Many astronauts attained doctorate degrees, and nearly all earned master's degrees.

Historically, about half of NASA's astronauts came from an engineering background, but specialties include medicine, chemistry, biology and veterinary science. After ensuring that applicants are U. Translated, NASA looks for any experience "related to the kinds of things astronauts do," said Duane Ross, the manager for astronaut candidate selection and training. To the committee, candidates who take on challenges outside of the workplace demonstrate curiosity and energy.

Many astronauts who don't have a military background do hold a private piloting license. Some are avid mountain climbers, scuba divers or skiers.

Surprising Facts

Others are musicians, dancers or play competitive sports. Choosing to expose themselves to different, extreme environments—the "earthling analogues for a mission to Mars"—counts as another way to stand out from the crowd, Neal said. While working for the CIA, Epps volunteered to be deployed to Iraq for four months, though others chose Antarctica or the deep sea.

For the or so candidates who make it to the final interview, personality counts. In space, astronauts live in cramped quarters with a handful of people for six months.

For Astronauts, Crazy Risks Come with the Job

Getting along with others is a necessity. Finally, candidates must pass a rigorous set of physical and psychological exams. The exam includes meeting specific standards for height, blood pressure and eyesight. Applicants in this latter group are encouraged to reapply. Foreman applied seven times before getting an invitation to interview, only to be rejected.

NASA’s Grueling Underwater Test for Astronauts

On his eighth try, he again received an interview invitation. The film, which won an Academy Award for best visual effects, follows Armstrong from a test flight of the X spaceplane to the conclusion of the Apollo 11 mission. First Man also explores the toll the inherent danger of early space program took on the astronauts, their wives and families.

This mind-bending, dystopian thriller from Christopher Nolan Inception, The Dark Knight stars Matthew McConaughey as an astronaut turned farmer recruited to find a new home planet for a dwindling population struggling to survive global crop failures and freaky dust storms.

Nothing is quite what it seems in this not-too-distant future where humankind has beaten its spaceships into plowshares, NASA has gone underground and children are taught the Apollo moon landings were faked. Stunning visual effects won an Oscar for this sci-fi epic praised by notoriously nitpicky Neil de Grasse Tyson for its scientifically sound depiction of wormhole travel, black holes and relativity.

Astronaut requirements

The Right Stuff shows the grueling medical and physical tests the Mercury Seven endured to qualify for spaceflight and highlights the dangers they faced in the early space program. The film was criticized by some Mercury Seven astronauts for historical inaccuracy but praised by film critics who were at a loss to explain its lackluster box office returns.

The Right Stuff was nominated for eight Academy Awards including best picture.

It won four Oscars for sound, original score, sound-effects editing and film editing. Although some aspects of the film seem dated now — like those Pan Am shuttles — the film remains a cinematic masterpieces more than a half-century after its debut. Waking up stranded from everyone you know and forced to plant potatoes in your own feces to survive would be a bad day on Earth, let alone Mars.