Are you concerned about coronavirus? Have you been irrationally hoarding toilet paper? Do you wanna get away? Far, far, FAR away?
Well, have I got a job opportunity for you!
It pays six figures and involves extensive travel — all expenses paid. Where you are going has no travel restrictions or confirmed coronavirus cases.
Even so, this job includes plenty of medical checkups. From the very best doctors. OK, you might not be able to book a face-to-face appointment just any time you might want one. But time your illness just right, and the healthcare and family medical leave benefits are unmatched.
Also, if you’re hired, you’ll incur zero wardrobe expense. Successful candidates get a fancy employer-supplied, environmentally controlled uniform. Plus, all the Tang you can drink. Probably for life.
Yes, I’m talking about the job of astronaut. And here’s the best part: NASA is accepting applications now until the end of this month. I would like to apply.
In fact, I have already taken the first step in the hiring process: I downloaded the application. It is 16 pages long.
Be forewarned: being an astronaut, it turns out, is not all spacewalks and freeze-dried ice cream endorsements. According to the application, it requires many qualifications.
For one thing, you have to demonstrate an ability to live with others in a confined space. I have that one covered. As my resume now states, I spent my formative years sharing a double bed with two younger sisters.
I think I can also pass the swimming test.
I will, however, need to complete 1,000 hours of flight training and learn science, engineering and possibly Russian by the end of the month. Which could be tight.
You wouldn’t think the competition would be that great, given that the job has a four percent mortality rate. Still, the odds of being hired aren’t great. The last time NASA opened applications more than 18,300 people applied for 12 spots.
That translates into roughly a .06% success rate. In other words, you are roughly 1,000 times more likely to die of coronavirus than you are to become an astronaut.
Note: I may not pass NASA’s math requirement, either.
Even if you are lucky enough to get selected for the Astronaut Candidate program, there is also no guarantee that you will get a spot on an actual space flight. Imagine explaining that to your relatives.
So that’s why I decided to take the 15-question Astronaut Aptitude Test before I formally applied. It’s at astronaut-test.com. It takes less than five minutes.
Full disclosure: I got a 48%, despite perfect scores in height and knowing the correct order of the planets.
In conclusion, to avoid this virus, we probably all need a Plan B. I suggest watching Apollo 11 and washing your hands.