Why You Could Never Be An Astronaut

This video was made possible by WIX. If you’re ready to create a website, head
over to wix.com/go/infographics2019 to try out one of their premium plans right now. In the 1950’s, NASA leadership was in the
midst of a debate. They were trying to decide what name was best
to call the crew of their spacecraft. The word astronaut comes from the Greek words
Astron and nautes which mean sailor among the stars. Whereas, cosmonaut with the word cosmos suggests
exploration not of the stars, but of space. As it made more sense, the Soviet Union called
Yuri Gagarin, the man who won them the Space Race, a cosmonaut. However, NASA, to this day, prefers astronaut. Whatever the title, the challenges they face
are the same. Could you handle them? Let’s find out in this episode of The Infographics
Show, Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Astronaut? Astronauts are trained around the world in
many different locations. These include the United States, Europe, Russia,
and Asia. However, unlike other careers, they do not
always accept new recruits. In the United States, NASA makes announcements
that applicants are wanted on an as needed basis. The European Space Agency hasn’t been open
to astronaut selection since 1992 and, even then, applications were accepted for just
months. On the rare occasion that a position opens
up, the competition is quite intense. Over the years, NASA has had an upwards trend
in interest. It set an all-time record in 2016 with over
18,000 people submitting applications. Only 120 people are invited to an interview
and, of these, just half are welcomed back. For those in Europe, the chances of becoming
selected for training are also very slim. During the last recruitment in 2009, only
six were picked out of 8,413. When new astronauts are needed, candidates
must have vast knowledge and experience to meet, and preferably exceed, training program
admittance guidelines. No matter where they are, those who apply
must be exceptionally strong in several key areas. These typically include a high-level education,
flying experience, and proof of physical and mental ability. As an example, to qualify to train with NASA,
candidates must first complete an undergraduate program and earn their bachelor’s degree. And not just any major will be accepted. While there are no schools or university tracks
specific to the field, there are other ways to learn applicable skills. You will need to focus your studies in engineering,
mathematics, or the physical, biological, or computer sciences. In addition to this, candidates must also
have three years or more of related experience or 1,000 hours of time commanding a jet aircraft. The third and last NASA requirement is passing
a physical examination, which has many different parts. Among other things, there are blood pressure
limitations as well as specifications for just how tall or short you can be. That’s right, if you’re not the right
size, you may be disqualified as you won’t fit inside of a spacesuit. In addition to this, for obvious reasons,
you will need to be able to see well with 20/20 vision in each eye, either naturally,
with surgery, or with lenses. Similar to NASA, the European Space Agency
requires a high standard of education in a technical or scientific discipline. While not essential, aircraft experience is
also highly recommended. Physical condition is taken into consideration,
and they list additional mental abilities that prospective astronauts must have to succeed. These include the ability to cope with high-stress
situations, get along with others, and, in general, be adaptable. Why are these necessary? Well, spaceflights may last for months. Those in the spacecraft will be crammed all
together with the same people each and every day. Getting along will be imperative to successfully
tackle unforeseen situations as they come. It will also be necessary to work well as
a team and to complete a given mission. In addition to all this, the Russian research
and test cosmonaut training center claims that the concepts of motivation and trainability
are also key for new recruits. With the amount of training they will be required
to complete, candidates must be willing to stick it through and work hard to master new
things. So, say you have the education, experience,
and physical and mental ability to get accepted to an astronaut training program. This is when the challenge really begins. Training will be neither quick or easy and
requires years of dedication. During this time trainees will learn what
to expect before, during, and after they launch into space. Just the act of taking off and landing can
be quite brutal and incapacitate people for days. In fact, some 60% to 80% of those who travel
to space experience space motion sickness for the first 2 or 3 days after leaving and
may experience it again for another 2 or 3 days once they return. This may either be caused by shifts in fluid
surrounding the brain or because of the effects of gravity on the inner ear. Whatever the cause, it makes those who have
it feel overly hot, sick to their stomach, and exhausted. Those who do throw up often have little warning
but it typically doesn’t last very long. Almost a whole crew getting motion sickness
is so common that on most space missions activities are limited for the first few days. The use of proper training as well as medications
have been somewhat successful at preventing this level of sickness. However, medications must be used with caution
as they can also cause drowsiness or impair concentration. For those on a spaceship this could be a lethal
combination. Another effect of spending time in space is
experiencing irregularities in the flow of blood. Sometimes, after a mission is over, blood
pressure may start to drop as a person tries to stand. This will make them feel dizzy and they may
even pass out. This is common for a few days and should resolve
by itself. It is also worth noting that prolonged time
in space can cause other problems as well. In the space environment, the heart’s shape
becomes rounder and some of its muscle mass is lost. Scientists hope to discover an exercise routine
that could help keep hearts strong to counteract this. Of course, in addition to what happens at
takeoff and landing, astronauts must also know what to do as they orbit in space. For this purpose, they will be taught the
concepts behind orbits and astronomy. Astronauts are also given access to a realistic
spacecraft model so they can learn how its different components function. They will learn things such as how the rocket
engine propels the craft and how insulation regulates equipment temperature. And of course, very critically, about how
the systems work that provide them with the basic necessities such as food, water, and
air. More than knowing how all of these work, an
astronaut must also be able to respond effectively to their failure. Further, he or she must know how to protect
them during a disaster as well. Of course, astronauts must also prepare for
their part of the spaceflight’s mission. This often requires such things as learning
how to navigate through space successfully while wearing a spacesuit. To simulate this here on earth, astronauts
put on their equipment and submerge themselves in water. They then walk around and perform various
tasks while entirely underwater. Other useful skills astronauts should know
for a mission include learning how to pilot the ship and accurately determine its position. To do this, they must also know how to identify
potentially confusing optical illusions. In addition to understanding the internal
workings of a spaceship and how to perform their jobs, astronauts must also prepare themselves
for the psychological challenges of the space environment. As many who have been to space have said,
dealing with the combination of constant danger, loneliness, and limitations was the most challenging
thing they ever did. In space, danger never ends and may always
be near. Experts have described that by living in a
situation surrounded by danger, it makes one hyper-aware of it. There is also something comforting about feeling
attached to the ground that is absent when drifting in space. Over time the sensation of floating, while
exciting at first, may become much less fun. If nothing else, it can be frustrating and
make some of the simplest tasks a challenge. An astronaut’s sense of balance may be thrown
off by the distortion of time as well. Instead of happening once every day, in space,
sunset and sunrise switch back and forth every 45 minutes. On long shifts over lengthy missions, one
may lose complete sense of how much time has passed or what time it even is. However, the most profound sense of loss many
astronauts have felt is the missing connection to their normal life. This was expressed by astronauts even after
weekly interactions with their families and friends which not every astronaut has. Another thing that some have considered one
of the very worst feeling was when they were sitting around with nothing to do and without
any type of distraction. Then to this sense of uselessness or boredom
you must add a stifling lack of freedom. The good news is that astronauts are well
prepared for these types of situations. They know what to expect through practice
and have developed different coping mechanisms. To show they can handle being by themselves
astronauts have been kept in isolation chambers for weeks. They have also been locked up with others
for over a month to learn about compromise and limited freedoms. We have all seen the videos of astronauts
laughing and doing flips as they float around freely on their ship. But now we’ve learned that the magical feeling
of weightlessness can become much less fun. Many people want to become an astronaut, and
thousands upon thousands go so far as to apply. However, the job is not an easy one and requires
a lot of grit and sacrifice. Not everyone has what it takes to be an astronaut,
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or going to wix.com/go/infographics2019. Did you want to become an astronaut, and have
you changed your mind? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Most Extreme Planets In The Galaxy Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

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