There are a lot of people in the United States who want to be Astronauts for NASA. Fortunately, NASA is gearing up for more space exploration- an exploration that goes beyond the moon, and possibly even Mars. In the last round of astronaut scouting, there were over 18,000 applicants. Of these people, only 12 were selected to go on to the training program. So what makes these people the best applicants out of so many people?

Job qualifications and training

The job qualifications for being an astronaut are quite extensive and require a lot of work.

Any applicant that wants to meet qualifications has to have a bachelor's degree in a field of science, math, engineering, or technology. Apart from all the work that goes into a degree, applicants must have work experience or post-graduate studies as well. Many astronauts come from many different backgrounds, such as veterinarians.

There are many physical requirements as well as academic requirements. Applicants must have good eyesight, a blood pressure that doesn't exceed 140/90 in a sitting position, and they must be between 5'2" and 6'3" in height. There are also difficult endurance tests to pass and the applicants must impress the NASA team during a series of interviews.

After passing the initial evaluations, applicants must complete a difficult two-year training program.

They have to learn skills such as extensive swimming, become SCUBA certified, and they have to be able to learn a bit of Russian in order to talk to people at the space station and during launches. After basic training, the astronauts require more training depending on what they have to do in space.

The work of astronauts

Astronauts work extremely hard in space.

They tend to work at least six days a week. Much of the work is performing experiments, doing repairs on hardware, and a lot of researching. Along with the Hard Work, astronauts have to be able to handle being away from their family and friends for extended periods of time. However, it seems as if the hard work pays off.

Depending on educational achievements and experience, astronauts can start off making between $66,000 to roughly $144,500 a year.

Full-fledged astronauts can make up to $150,063 each year. The only way to make more is if the astronaut came in through the military, as active duty members are paid based on military rates.

However, aside from salary, NASA has a lot of restrictions on how else astronauts can make money. For instance, they cannot receive royalties from writing or charge money to speak for crowds of people. They are not allowed to accept monetary gifts either. Despite all of this, who wouldn't give that to have a chance at being an astronaut?