The movies and television have been commissioned to design a somewhat distorted picture of the kind of men and women who are likely to go into space. In the popular imagination, candidates must be aces of aviation and accomplished geniuses in some weird science to be crew on a space mission name. But things are very different and although there are requirements to become an astronaut and candidates must pass stringent tests, the issue is not as most people imagine.
From myth to reality
Myth 1: Every astronaut are pilot. While being pilot helps a lot when it comes to the nomination, the fact is that it is not an exclusive requirement. Many astronauts have visited the space pilots.
Myth 2: If you have perfect vision, you can not be an astronaut. False. No 20/20 vision is essential. Not disable any corrective surgeries have visual defects such as myopia, because since 2007 the people who have gone through such procedures are allowed.
Myth 3:. If you do not have at least a PhD, you can not go into space Neither is true. While it is required at least a college degree be in the top of the educational ladder it is not something urgent for astronaut candidates; however, it is a significant advantage.
Myth 4: If you pass the age of 30, you can no longer go into space. Unfounded. NASA has not set an age limit and accepted candidates between 26 and 46 years. The average age of people who are accepted is 34 years.
Myth 5: It is essential to have military experience. No way. This has been a coincidence, because the military origin of many pilots. However, it is not now required to enter the NASA space program.
If you want to be an astronaut first thing to determine is where you want to be an astronaut: with NASA and the Russian space agency. NASA summarizes the requirements for an astronaut on three key points: academic degree, experience and medical examination. There are two ways to become an astronaut at NASA as mission commander (pilot) or as a mission specialist. In both cases it requires at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, biology, mathematics or physics. Other specialties are also welcome but its possibilities are more restricted. Pilots are expected to have at least a thousand hours of flight; specialists, three years of experience. Postgraduate studies have improved the chances of being accepted.
The medical examination is the last step, and seeks to establish physical conditions ideal to go into space. While perfect vision is not essential, yes it is expected that both commanders and specialists have a very good vision. Regarding the physical state must be optimal; It not expected that applicants are Olympic athletes, but people who are fit and without chronic health problems. They must withstand certain extreme conditions related to the strong acceleration of the ships and the lack of gravity; in short, a head not dizzy easily and a strong stomach.
The requirements to be an astronaut in the Russian space program is a little more complex and demanding than those set by NASA. Those who follow this path, must take great personal cost, training isolated from everything for at least six months. Russian style is closer to the cliché of the military training of future cosmonauts. Medical and physical examinations are also very demanding, as in the psychological NASA to ensure that an astronaut will not lose your head in the vacuum of space on a mission and practice tests.