Today is the last day you can submit your application to become a NASA astronaut, in case you have an overwhelming urge to throw yourself off the planet for a while. The deadline to submit your application to NASA is tonight 11:59 PM ET, so there are only a few precious hours left to prepare your escape plan from Earth.
NASA is recruiting another round of astronauts for its highly acclaimed Artemis program, an initiative to send the first woman to the surface of the moon. The goal is to land the first Artemis crews on the moon debris by 2024 and continue to land additional crews every year thereafter. The ultimate long-term goal is to send astronauts to Mars one day, and NASA hopes to use its Artemis program to learn and train to eventually send people to the Red Planet one day.
Perhaps exploring deep space destinations in the solar system appeals to you; you may have other reasons for wanting to be far from the planet. Anyway, now is the time to apply!
Of course there are some caveats. Before becoming an astronaut, you must pass a physical and be a U.S. citizen. You will need a master’s degree in some sort of STEM field (although there are other ways to fulfill this requirement such as completing two years of work in a PhD program). Candidates also require two years of professional experience related to being an astronaut, or you can replace with 1000 hours of jet pilot experience. Oh and this time, candidates also have to take an online test that takes about two hours, according to NASA.
Even if you are very impatient to go into space now for some reason, it is good to know that it will probably take a while before you shoot, even if you to be selected from the likely inclinations of thousands of hopeful people who will sign up. NASA does not plan to elect finalists in mid-2021. These individuals will complete approximately two years of training before graduation and are eligible for mission assignments. Even thereafter, it may take a few years for them to be selected for a crew.
The lucky few who are handpicked may have fun new rides to take to space. NASA notes that future astronauts can travel to the International Space Station with the new commercial vehicles being developed by SpaceX and Boeing. The first manned flight of the SpaceX spacecraft, the Crew Dragon, is scheduled for May. Also, for those with ambitions to come to the moon, future astronauts will be able to ride in NASA’s new deep-space crew capsule, called Orion, which is designed to launch on top of the agency’s future giant rocket, the Space Launch System. The pair would fly together on their maiden flight next year, although NASA recently halted production and development of these vehicles in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which is likely to delay that mission even longer.
Unfortunately, applying to become an astronaut is probably not the fastest solution for fleeing the planet right now – if that’s something you want to do. But, hey, you never know when you’ll need a quick trip from Earth in the future – why not plan ahead now?