Could You Pass This Astronaut Aptitude Test?

Paul Campbell/iStock via Getty Images
Paul Campbell/iStock via Getty Images

Though NASA just celebrated the milestone 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, a decade earlier—in 1958—they launched Project Mercury, the first human-powered space program. NASA put potential astronauts through rigorous trials and whittled the mission down to just seven men: Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Wally Schirra, and Deke Slayton.

Since 1959, NASA has offered an Astronaut Candidate program, which currently has 338 candidates who train at Houston's Johnson Space Center for two years before becoming eligible for flight assignments. Clearly it’s a competitive program: In 2017, NASA received 18,300 applications and selected just 12 candidates.

Think you have what it takes to live out your Star Wars or SpaceCamp fantasies? Take this Astronaut Test to see if you've got the right stuff. Though it's not an official NASA test, the questions are based on the space agency's official candidate requirements as well as several psychological tests.

The Astronaut Test is comprised of 15 questions that examine six criteria: physicality, spatial visualization, knowledge, education, abstract reasoning/IQ, and personality. Questions include simple things like "how tall are you?" and "how old are you?" (NASA doesn’t have an age requirement, but the average candidate is 34 years old) to "how do you handle stress?" (selections range from “I think I respond well” to “I tend to crumble”), "do you speak Russian?," and "do you have a degree in engineering and/or mathematics?" (Buzz Aldrin has a degree in mechanical engineering). Other questions involve solving visual puzzles and naming the planets in order (remember your "My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Noodles" mnemonic device from elementary school).

Because it’s an online test, it’s easy to cheat and look up the answers, like the order of the planets. But where’s the fun in doing that?

Though NASA is currently not accepting applications for the Astronaut Candidate program, that might change in the future. So it pays to be prepared. You can take the Astronaut Test here.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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How Do Astronauts Vote From Space?

Astronaut Kate Rubins casts her ballot from space.
Astronaut Kate Rubins casts her ballot from space.
NASA

Earlier this week, NASA announced that astronaut Kate Rubins had officially cast her vote from a makeshift voting booth aboard the International Space Station. As much as we’d like to believe her ballot came back to Earth in a tiny rocket, the actual transmission was much more mundane. Basically, it got sent to her county clerk as a PDF.

As NASA explains, voting from space begins the same way as voting abroad. Astronauts, like military members and other American citizens living overseas, must first submit a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) to request an absentee ballot. Once approved, they can blast off knowing that their ballot will soon follow.

After the astronaut’s county clerk completes a practice round with folks at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, they can start the real voting process. The astronaut will then receive two electronic documents: a password-protected ballot sent by the Space Center’s mission control center, and an email with the password sent by the county clerk. The astronaut then “downlinks” (sends via satellite signal) their filled-out ballot back to the Space Center attendants, who forward it to the county clerk. Since the clerk needs a password to open the ballot, they’re the only other person who sees the astronaut’s responses. Then, as NPR reports, they copy the votes onto a regular paper ballot and submit it with the rest of them.

Though Americans have been visiting space for more than half a century, the early jaunts weren’t long enough to necessitate setting up a voting system from orbit. That changed in 1996, when John Blaha missed out on voting in the general election because his spaceflight to Russia’s space station Mir began in September—before absentee voters received their ballots—and he didn’t return until January 1997. So, as The Washington Post reports, NASA officials collaborated with Texas government officials to pass a law allowing astronauts to cast their ballots from space. In the fall of 1997, David Wolf became the first astronaut to submit his vote from a space station. The law is specific to Texas because most active astronauts reside there, but NASA has said that the process can be done from other states if need be.