Astronauts Prepping to be The Martian: They build things and grow things…in space by Dr. Pamela L. Gay

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Astronomer Dr. Pamela L. Gay returns what it really takes to be an astronaut—an inside look at required skills and the long timeline involved.

Astronauts Prepping to be The Martian:
They build things and grow things…in space

by Dr. Pamela L. Gay

“Kid, by the time you’re grown up NASA will have built all the cool stuff.”  I heard those words in 1988. That dude was wrong—today is a great time (for somebody else) to be an astronaut.

At the time, eighth-grade me was standing in front of a diagram of the planned Space Station Freedom at the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center. I was there to pretend to be an astronaut as I attended Space Camp. At that adolescent moment, all I wanted to do was fly among the stars, help build space stations, conduct research, be a science communicator, and build international peace one rocket launch at a time. I was a kid; I wanted to do everything, and I wanted to do it in space. Continue reading…

You, an Accidental Astronaut, by Sonja Natasha

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You may not have left your girlfriend, and you may not have traveled to space, but in a thousand words Sonja Natasha paints a gorgeous picture of you doing just that.

You, an Accidental Astronaut

by Sonja Natasha

You leave Earth like you leave your girlfriend: tripping over your shoelaces because you hurried too much to tie them right. You need to be gone before she wakes up, before you have to fumble an awkward goodbye. So you hitch a ride on a rocket ship with your legs curled against your chest and with the stars shooting by, thinking about the things and people you’d left behind: the diner with the all-you-can-eat waffles every Sunday morning, the temple across the way with a smooth paved lot so good for rollerblading, and your mom who always baked her own bread, who always gave you the first steaming slice glazed with sugar and dusted with cinnamon, but who never liked your girlfriend, the same girl you left, remember, without even saying see you later.

She’ll get over you just like you’ll get over her. She’ll find another nice girl. You’ll find someone on a planet somewhere over there after the engines harness a sun flare, tearing holes in space and time to where everything’s gonna be just fine.

You fall asleep and wake up to an event horizon of faces peering down at you and asking why you aren’t back home because you’re not supposed to be here. It’s too late to turn back and you’ve bet your life there’s nothing they can do to ground you.

They put an astronaut’s fish-globe helmet over your head. They don’t offer you anything to eat because they’re too busy exonerating themselves for leaving you behind in their exhaust fumes. You’ll be okay, they tell you. It’ll be just like falling asleep, and you’ll wake up in a better place.

Continue reading…