Did you ever dream of becoming an astronaut? On November 4, 2015 NASA offered an opportunity to realize that dream, announcing it would begin recruiting the next astronaut class, a month after the release of the movie, ‘The Martian’.
Using the #JourneyToMars, NASA initiated an online recruiting strategy in advance of the availability of online applications.
“Recently named the best place to work in the federal government for the fourth year in a row, NASA is looking for the best candidates to work in the best job on or off the planet. The astronaut candidate application website now is live and accepting submissions through Feb. 18.”
As the application deadline of approaches, NASA is pausing today to remember and celebrate the lives of the space explorers lost pursuing their dream on Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia.
On January 28, 1986, NASA was hoping to instill a passion for space exploration in a new generation. The STS-51L mission included the first civilian crew member, and competitively selected, ‘teacher in space’ Christa McAuliffe.
The other members of the diverse crew who went to work on Challenger that cold winter day were spacecraft commander Dick Scobee, pilot Michael J. Smith, mission specialist Judith A. Resnick, mission specialist Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist Ellison S. Onizuka, and payload specialist Gregory B. Jarvis.
Search ‘Challenger’ and it’s permanently linked to ‘disaster’. View the videos of the crew en route to the launch pad and gain an alternative view of individuals excited and energized at the prospect of lift-off.
It’s easy to forget the risks of exploration amid the successes. And for those completing the application to become a member of the next generation of space explorers, the anticipation of adventure far outweighs consideration of danger.
“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Those selected for this service will fly on U.S. made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.
Take a minute today to consider dreams and dreamers with a quote from Everest explorer, Edmund Hillary, who reached as far into the sky as you can with your feet still planted on the ground.
“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”