Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'll never be an astronaut

So, I heard from the Canadian Space Agency the other day. I was happy to find out that I had made it to the next round of selection to become an Astronaut. I think they had something like 5500 initial applications and weeded out about 1000 in the first go. The next step is online once again and seems a bit more in depth.

I logged in and the first thing it asked for was my GPA from University. Shit. Now, just to defend myself, I did take Engineering in University, which (at the time) required a degree of competition to get in. And then, I took Mechanical, which also took a bit of competition. So, it's not like the rest of my class were brain-dead buffoons and I could drink my days away and expect to get "A's". I drank my days away and got "B's" and "C's". No matter what I did, I couldn't get my average above 69.3%. I calculated it four different ways (weighted average of all grades, average of all grades, weighted average of yearly averages, average of yearly averages) and the proper way to do it (weighted average of all grades) came out the highest. I just don't think 69.3% is going to cut it.

From there, it asked for a two page essay on why I want to be an astronaut. I can write this in my sleep. I'm thinking of writing "...because it's the coolest fuckin' thing ever." and leaving it at that.

From there it went to a page asking about professional experience. It wanted to know about experience in labs (well...I do put equipment into labs?), experience in production environments (I could have talked for a week about this), experience managing projects (fuckin' hell...why don't they just make me an astronaut now?) and in the medical profession (I've been to the hospital a few times?), experience flying airplanes (I actually wrote out a paragraph equating the skills of ski racing and downhill mountain bike racing to flying an airplane, but I think I will take it out) and, lastly, experience in working with international science communities (I don't even know what this means, so I think I have to say no).

Okay. So far, so good.

The next page will allow me to present other skills that I think will be relevant to being an astronaut. A love of ice cream? A uniform fetish? I don't know what to put here. But I'll think of something.

So, on to the next page.

Oh. God. "Present your experience and expertise in the following:" and the list includes:
robotics (okay...I can BS something for this), astronomy (ummm...I know the big dipper), space exploration (what, is this open to past astronauts?), geology (hey! A degree in geology is good for something!), remote sensing (???), microgravity sciences (spellcheck doesn't even recognize this), meteorology, spacecraft design (what the fuck? Am I going to build the thing before flying in it?), orbital mechanics (once again...I'm a mechanical engineer...what does this mean?), thermodynamics (score!), materials science (score!) in a microgravity environment (wha? Is it different? Shit), applications of advanced industrial materials (okay...), payloads (okay. design it AND load the thing?), satellite communications (okay...there's just too many of these things to comment on), rocketry and propulsion, effects of high altitude, physiology or life sciences, biology (I hope grade 11 counts), space physics, planetary and earth sciences, aeronomy (seriously...what the fuck is that?), geodesy (once again...?), oceonography, aerodynamics (score!), navigation (okay...I can see the relevance of this) and avionics. They want a paragraph for each of these. So, basically, they want Jesus of science to come work for them. What the hell? This is embarrassing. Why wasn't there a disclaimer? If you are not Jesus of science, do not bother applying as you will just embarrass yourself.

And it doesn't stop there. Good lord no, it gets worse. The next page is certifications. Let's see:
First aid and CPR, lifeguarding, scuba diving, military scuba diving (I guess this is different? Maybe at the military courses they say "Now, here's what you really do"), commercial scuba diving, technical scuba diving (seriously, 4 different sections for scuba diving), amateur radio operator (okay...let's get some nerds on board!), parachuting, zero-g experience, high-g tolerance experience, pilot license, recreational pilot license, commercial pilot license (I get it...flying an airplane helps. So does scuba diving apparently), military pilot - transport aircraft (oh, not done with the airplanes yet), military pilot -fighter aircraft (fuck off with the airplanes!), test pilot (FUCK! Again?) and, finally, flight test engineer. Once again, a paragraph for all of these. I have none of these. Not a single one. I'm fucked.

And, finally, the last page, add your resume...well...I guess I can do that. They'll post it in the bathroom and laugh at me while they take their giant astronaut dumps.

Part of me just wants to fill this out and write what I really think. Part of me is hoping/thinking/praying that if I fill it out correctly they'll say "Fuck...this guy is a real loser...but he has heart! Let's send him up!"

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