Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Astronaut dreams - TASE Day

Taking a break from NaNoWriMo and a momentary panic from a mixup with a galley and a novel that hates me and two final exams to indulge in a bit of TASE Day and some dreaming.

My first dream career (at age 3) was to be an Opera Singer. (FYI, I'm a coloratura mezzo-soprano, though I haven't had much operatunity to sing of late.)

My second dream career (and one that sustained me for the next 40+ years) was to be an author.

My third dream career (at age 8) was to be an astronaut.

Recently learned that NASA's looking for more astronauts.  Anyone can apply if they meet the criteria:

1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution... 

 YES! I got one of those! engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics.
 Oh, okay, ne'ermind.  (Regretting not staying in biology for five seconds. However, my Bachelor in Arts has served my career well so far.)

2. Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience...
Ah. I assume they mean STEM experience? Got plenty of the Fine Arts experience. Give me a few more years out staring at the stars and getting papers knocked back by ApJ and this could change.

... or at least 1,000 pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.

Don't think I've even been a passenger in a plane for a thousand hours, much less clocked that amount of flight time.

2a. An advanced degree is desirable...
...and may be substituted for experience as follows: master’s degree = 1 year of experience [etc] ....
Now, my big question is, if my master's is in a STEM field, would that make up for my lack of STEM in my bachelor's degree?

2b. Teaching experience... 

...including experience at the K - 12 levels... considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position... 
...provided degree is in a Science, Engineering, or Mathematics field.
Aw man!  Throw me a friggin' bone here!

3. Ability to pass the NASA Astronaut physical, which includes the following specific requirements:
  • Blood pressure not to exceed 140/90 measured in a sitting position
 120/60  -  noice!
  • Standing height between 62 and 75 inches
  I'm 64 inches.
  • Distant and near visual acuity: Must be correctable to 20/20, each eye....
Bother!  My eyesight is bad, alas.  We're not talking a slight nearsightedness. And I've got presbyopia*. The only correctable surgery that would bring my eyesight to the correct acuity would be a reshaping of my orbit cavities. That technology is still a ways off.  Unless they let me wear these funky astronaut eyeglasses, I'm out of the running:

Do you also dream of being an astronaut? Are you better qualified than I am? If so, go apply for Astronaut School and see if you can get in.

Meanwhile, I might see if they let middle-aged women into Space Camp.

*Presbyopia: you can spot who has presbyopia because they're the middle-aged people who have to hold restaurant menus at arms length in order to be able to read them. I developed presbyopia about five years ago.  His Grace, who exceeds me in age, has yet to develop it (or he might have and doesn't want to admit it).

Her Grace's fourth dream career was to be a teacher. Then she thought about how cool it would be to be an teacher/astronaut and then come back and tell her students about how cool it was to go to outer space, and if they wanted to go themselves, they needed to study real hard.  Then she learned about what happens to schoolteachers who go to outer space.

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