10 memes highlight the life of an astronaut

28 Oct 2014

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have taken three spacewalks outside the orbiting space lab this month. We take a closer look at their job with the help of memes.

During spacewalks, astronauts maintain the space station, in addition to other responsibilities they carry out in zero gravity. Here’s a rundown of the job requirements:

What they do: Since astronauts works as part of a crew, they have specific responsibilities. For example, piloting, co-ordinating activities aboard the spacecraft, and extravehicular activity, which is where spacewalks come in.

To break the roles down further, pilots control and operate vehicles, and a crew’s commander is responsible for the group’s safety and the success of a mission. Mission specialists plan crew activities and even the use of foods.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station also conduct research and scientific experiments.

What they don’t do: Seek the daredevil lifestyle. As former astronaut Chris Hadfield wrote in his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, “Our passion isn’t for thrills but for the grindstone, and pressing our noses to it. We have to: we’re responsible for equipment that has cost taxpayers many millions of dollars, and the best insurance policy we have on our lives is our own dedication to training. Studying, simulating, practising until responses become automatic – astronauts don’t do all this only to fulfil (US space agency) NASA’s requirements. Training is something we do to reduce the odds that we’ll die.”

Educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable.

Skills: Determination, ability to bear huge responsibility, and understanding of spacecraft systems. Astronauts must pass physical and psychological tests, as well as undergo rigorous training.

Salary: A NASA astronaut can earn an annual salary of US$64,724-US$141,715.

Tina Costanza
By Tina Costanza

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic. She came to Ireland from Canada, where she had held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto. When she wasn’t saving dangling participles, she was training for 10K races or satisfying a craving for scones.

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