NASA announced Wednesday that the space agency is seeking new astronauts. Beginning on Dec. 14, you can apply to be in the next training class -- a group of astronauts who could be part of historic missions like our first trip to Mars.
It goes without saying that becoming (and being) an astronaut is no picnic. But that doesn't mean folks should be scared of applying. The bare minimum requirement isn't too rough: You need to have a bachelor's degree in science, math, engineering, or some other technology field -- and on top of that, you need either three years of related career experience or 1,000 hours of time logged piloting a jet aircraft.
So hey, nerds: Apply! Nothing is stopping you. If you're considered highly qualified -- which likely requires at least one advanced degree or a lot of piloting experience -- you'll be brought in for an extensive interview, examination, and physical testing process.
Of course, the selection process is going to be pretty rigorous. Lots of people are going to apply, and NASA has only ever had about 300 astronauts -- total. When NASA put out a call for applications in 2011, they received over 6,100 applications and only selected eight as potential future astronauts. That's an acceptance rate of just over 0.1 percent. Not to mention the fact that you still have to get through training after making the cut.
But a 0.1 percent chance is better than a 0 percent chance, which is what your odds of becoming an astronaut are if you just sit around moping.
Just think: In a few years, your poop could be burning up like a shooting star. Dream big.