Right now, you can apply to NASA to be an astronaut — seriously. If living in zero-gravity and eating freeze dried food is your thing, get on that application! You have only two more days to go after the dream.
Need some more motivation? Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, twin brother of astronaut Scott Kelly, who’s famously wrapping up his year in space mission aboard the International Space Station, recently penned a short essay about why you — yes, you! — should apply.
At the time Kelly was selected for the program 20 years ago, he was a U.S. Navy test pilot. NASA tends to pluck a lot of candidates up from the military, since it’s easy to find someone with a lot of expertise flying a ship.
That shouldn’t deter you. NASA opening up applications to the general public is a sign they’re looking for some fresh blood, and the organization want to find people outside its wheelhouse.
Kelly offers some great reasons why being an astronaut is cool as shit (as if you really needed to hear them). You have the usual self-satisfying reasons — being an astronaut is obviously kind of a big deal, and the chance to serve as a hero for your country is pretty badass.
But the most unexpected: Great health care! Kelly writes:
“Astronauts are at greater risk for certain occupational-related diseases. For example, because of the heavy exposure to radiation in space, we have a higher risk for cancer. In order to help balance these potential harmful effects to astronauts’ health, NASA has the Lifetime Surveillance of Astronaut Health (LSAH) program, which does health screenings for current and retired astronauts. NASA has been monitoring me since 1996, when we joined NASA. And now, I’m being monitored even more extensively as part of NASA’s ‘Twins Study’ of me and Scott, as they work to better understand the impact of long-duration space flight on humans. That’s important if we are ever going to travel to places like Mars. So for this study, I’m the control subject, and Scott’s the test subject.”
So if you’re looking to switch off Obamacare, hurry up and fill out an application. And if you’re struggling with it, see our tips on how to show NASA you have the right stuff.