Meet NASA’s New Class of Astronauts

by Michael Freeman

I think it’s fair to say a good amount of us grew up hoping or at least wondering what it was like to be an astronaut. The competition is fierce and after a tough deliberation, NASA just announced their newest class of astronauts.

NASA announced yesterday they selected 10 new astronauts to join their ranks, half of them being military pilots. The Pioneer reports the agency introduced the lucky men and women during a ceremony in Houston, Texas. More than 12,000 people applied for the spots, with NASA selecting six men and four women. The lucky winners are all in their 30s and 40s, as well as having two years of flight training.

Aside from the test and combat pilots, their professions include a medical physicist, maritime roboticist, drilling specialist, and flight surgeon and bioengineer who also happens to be a champion cyclist. Additionally, two astronauts from the United Arab Emirates will train with them.

Air Force Major Marcos Berrios, an Air Force pilot from Puerto Rico, expressed excitement about potentially flying what is essentially a NASA mini helicopter on Mars. “I know Deniz, the other helicopter pilot here, and I would love to take it for a spin for science,” he said eliciting laughs from the crowd.

NASA began accepting people into its astronaut corps in 1959 for the original Mercury Seven. Since then, they only admitted 360 people into the program, making it a coveted honor. Incidentally, the last astronaut selection took place in 2017.

NASA chief astronaut Reid Wiseman discussed it is a great time for space travel and discovery. “We are in the golden age right now of human spaceflight,” he stated.

Unfortunately, NASA doesn’t plan on putting anyone back on the moon until 2025 or later, but it’s thrilling news nonetheless.

NASA Invited Bruce Willis for Their Mission Launch Resembling ‘Armageddon’

Last month NASA sent a rocket into space to redirect an asteroid. At a glance, it may seem familiar to Armageddon’s plot and NASA is well aware of it. To commemorate the launch, the organization invited Bruce Willis to witness it firsthand.

Though the mission doesn’t involve people mining the asteroid and dropping a bomb into it, NASA does intend to redirect it with a rocket. Specifically, it’s called a Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), and will cost $325 million to commence. Space reporter for The Washington Post Christian Davenport tweeted about the invitation, saying the renowned actor, unfortunately, didn’t attend.

Funnily enough, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University Nancy Chabot, quickly pointed out some key differences between Armageddon and what’s happening now. According to her, they need a significantly longer warning time than the movie. We’re not talking months or even years, but at least a decade. The mission also involves the rocket “gently nudging” the asteroid so it doesn’t impact the Earth.

It’s certainly not as exciting as the movie, but it gets the job done I suppose.