Home Front Page NASA asks aspiring astronauts to write poetry as part of the hiring...

NASA asks aspiring astronauts to write poetry as part of the hiring process

Among all the medical texts, rigorous background checks, qualifications requirements, and essay questions, the eight new astronauts recently chosen by NASA were also asked to write poetry. Yesterday (Aug. 20), one of the new recruits shared a limerick he submitted with reporters during a press conference at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., where the eight new astronauts were introduced.

According to Victor Glover, a 39-year-old lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, the candidates were asked to compose either a tweet, a haiku, or a limerick. Glover opted to write a limerick:

Eyes fixed, gazing off into space
My mind in awe of the human race
This is all dizzying to me
Because I gave so much blood and pee
Happy to be here, vice the colonoscopy place.

After reciting his limerick, Glover said the poem was funny if you had to go through the interview process, particularly all the medical testing. A California native, Glover holds degrees from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the U.S. Air Force’s Air University, and the Naval Postgraduate School.

Getting selected as a NASA astronaut wasn’t all haiku and rhyming verse, however, It was a grueling 18-month long process for the the lucky few chosen from thousands of applications. The eight Americans, made up of four men and four women, said they were “honored,” “excited,” and “humbled” at the prospect of becoming astronauts. According to NASA, the astronaut class of 2013 has the highest proportion of females to males in the space agency’s history.

Aside from Lt. Commander Glover, the other seven aspiring astronauts are Josh A. Cassada, Tyler N. “Nick” Hague, Christina M. Hammock, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Anne C. McClain, Andrew R. Morgan, and Jessica U. Meir. Their salaries are based on the federal government’s pay scale for grades GS-12 and GS-13. A GS-12 currently starts at around $65,000 per year and a GS-13 can earn over a little over $100,000. Astronauts who are serving in the military remain on active duty status while assigned to the Johnson Space Center.

The team now faces an intense two-year training program at the Johnson Space Center before they get an assignment or have the opportunity to speak to the press in an official capacity, according to NASA. The space agency currently has 47 astronauts on duty, including the newly chosen group.