A few months ago, I was lucky enough to participate in DSN50, a NASA social media event celebrating the 50th anniversary of their Deep Space Network.
It was an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which I blogged about.
Except it turns out it wasn’t.
NASA is hosting another once-in-a-lifetime social media event, this time to witness the test launch of the new Orion space capsule.
(Not to be confused with the similarly named, nuclear pulse propulsion Orion spacecraft.)
Turns out, for this particular event, applicants must write a short essay justifying why they should get one of the few available slots.
Naturally, I started mine, when I realized something.
I was aiming too low.
I shouldn’t be aiming for attendance at one of the nearby space centers to view the launch.
No, like NASA, I should be aiming for space itself.
Therefore, for the benefit of any NASA HR personnel who just happen to regularly read this blog, I humbly offer you compelling, irrefutable reasons why NASA should accept me as their next astronaut.
(Despite having no job application on file. Do I need one of those, or is a blog post considered enough?)
First and foremost, I am an engineer. So if we run into any of your run-of-the-mill, typical space-program-type issues, I am well-equipped to solve them.
I also happen to be a huge science fiction fan. Books, movies, TV shows, radio programs: I love them all. If we run into any unexpected problems, such as first contact, facehuggers, flux capacitors on a forced feedback loop or the like, again, I’m your go-to guy when it comes to dealing with it.
I am led to understand it can take a great deal of time and patience to get into a spacesuit. Well, I’m covered there too: I have five-year olds I regularly dress (they stubbornly refuse to learn how to do it themselves, the bastards), and if that doesn’t prove patience and perseverance, well, I don’t know what does.
Also, as just mentioned, I have two five-year olds at home who are stubborn and unwilling to dress themselves. I am really motivated to embark upon an extended trip. The further away from my home, the better, and you can’t get much further than low Earth orbit.
At least, with our current crop of spacecraft. You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to warp drives.
And as a responsible, loving father of young children, I am eager to not leave them (permanently) fatherless. So you can count on me to avoid taking any reckless risks while in space.
Yup, I definitely won’t be forgetting to close that airlock door after a spacewalk.
In fact, I’m so reluctant to leave my children (permanently) fatherless that you will need to hire some muscle to actually get me into the launch vehicle. But I promise, once I’m in the vacuum of space and the only chance of safely returning is complete and total cooperation, you won’t find a more reliable and industrious astronaut.
By the way, a fresh-faced Daddy and his two young kids?
Photo op gold.
Plus I just had my teeth whitened. Don’t want that to go to waste, do you?
But lest you start thinking you should send my kids into space instead of me, let’s get back to what makes me a great candidate.
I may be that most dreaded of creatures, the pocket protector wearing engineer, but I’m not all awkward and uncomfortable around people, afraid to make eye contact and spewing jargon in lieu of meaningful communication.
I’m also an English minor. As this blog clearly demonstrates, I can (and will!) convey any sciency stuff we encounter to the masses, and in simple terms that even I can understand!
(Note: if there are complicated terms involved, you will need to simplify them for me before I can convey them to the masses. But it’s space, how complicated can things get?)
Lots of complaints from ungrateful astronauts about the food you provide them? Not from me! For the last six months, in an effort to bulk up, I’ve eaten only creatine powder, consumed straight from the jar with just a straw and a little water to lower the viscosity.
After six months of this, I don’t care what you send up with your astronauts. Cheese Whiz? Tang? Cricket dung? Don’t care. It can’t possibly be as dehumanizingly unfit for consumption as creatine sludge.
On a related note, my doctor keeps telling me to lose weight. I can’t think of a better in-your-face way to shut her up than to drop down to zero pounds. Am I right?
Which reminds me. Think of the endorsements you can get through me to help fund the space program. Weight Watchers alone ought to be willing to pay me millions upon my safe return.
We can call it the Weight Watchers NASA Certified Weightless Program. It’ll be huge!
I’ll cut you in for, say, ten percent?
And how can you judge an applicant without the context of current events?
You can’t, of course!
Which is why I am proud to state, for the record, that you have nothing to be worried about with me when it comes to Ebola. I haven’t been anywhere near Africa, let alone West Africa.
And Texas? I wouldn’t have my cremated remains sent to that state, let alone a viable, working body. So with me, you can rest easy, knowing the odds against my coming down with Ebola during a mission are astronomical!
Finally, if you still aren’t convinced of my bona fides, I will add only this:
If NASA can send monkeys and dogs into space, surely you can get me there too.
Though if any of those animals are available to talk about their experience, let me know. Like I said, I’m a little worried about leaving my kids fatherless, and talking to someone who’s been through the whole process would ease my nerves considerably.
And I’m really good with dogs.
Well, nice dogs.
Not dogs like mine. They’re jerks, and I don’t get along with them.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you and learning when I should report to space camp (by the way, I’ve always wanted to go to space camp).
Ian M. Dudley