Could You Pass This Astronaut Aptitude Test?
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.