Bored at your job? NASA is looking for new astronauts

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The job of astronaut may require some travel.
The job of astronaut may require some travel.
Photo: NASA/Flickr CC

When companies list “frequent travel may be required” in their job postings, they usually mean flying business class to the annual convention in Omaha and staying at the airport Ramada.

It’s a good business practice to let candidates know this up front — especially when the company doing the hiring is NASA and the openings are for astronauts.

NASA announced Monday it is looking for people with the Right Stuff for work aboard the International Space Station and flights in new commercial spacecraft and well-traveled Russian Soyuz ships. Oh yeah, a trip to Mars is said to be in the works.

This toilet demo shows how astronauts boldly go in space

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Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took time out from her work aboard the International Space Station to explain how astronauts go to the bathroom in zero gravity. Photo: ESA/YouTube
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took time out from her work aboard the International Space Station to explain how astronauts go to the bathroom in zero gravity. Photo: ESA/YouTube

We have a reinvigorated interest in the mysteries of space. Astronaut Scott Kelly is just beginning a record-breaking stint in zero gravity, a space probe is about to fly by Pluto and manned missions to an asteroid and Mars are in the pipeline.

There is also the ongoing science on how to go to the bathroom in space, where things tend to float.

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti explained that mystery over the weekend, when she took time from her work on the International Space Station to give a video tour of the bathroom (see below) and delicately describe going Numbers 1 and 2 in zero gravity.

Apollo mission patches put stars in the eyes of a family

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The Apollo 11 mission patch. Photo: NASA/Neil F. Smith/YouTube
The Apollo 11 mission patch. Photo: NASA/Neil F. Smith/YouTube

I had the kind of dad who brought his work home with him. That was exciting since he was in the business of putting men on the moon.

Each time there was a scheduled launch, my two brothers and I could always expect our dad to come home with mission patches. Robert Pierini was an engineer in the late 1960s and early ’70s with an electronics company in Milwaukee that developed the guidance system for the Apollo mission.

So when filmmaker Neil F. Smith recently posted a video to YouTube, bringing animated life to each mission emblem, I immediately felt the same rush I had as a kid when I held a patch in my hand.

NASA salutes Nimoy for taking us boldly where no one had gone before

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Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted from the International Space Station this special salute to the late Leonard Nimoy. Photo: Terry Virts/Twitter
Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted from the International Space Station this special salute to the late Leonard Nimoy. Photo: Terry Virts/Twitter

Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of unflappable calm and logic during dangerous space travels on TV and in movies inspired those whose stage is actual space.

NASA is mourning the loss of Nimoy as if Mr. Spock was one of their own. Since news of Nimoy’s passing Friday, astronauts have tweeted, uploaded a YouTube video tribute and issued statements, thanking the iconic Star Trek actor for the courage to “boldly go” into professions involving space exploration.

One of the more touching tributes came from astronaut Terry Virts, who tweeted a photo of his hand in Spock’s iconic “Live Long and Prosper” gesture at a window in the International Space Station looking over Earth.