ONE SMALL STEP FOR AP­PLI­CANT, ONE GI­ANT LEAP TO LAND NASA JOB

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - GPS -

NASA’s lat­est round of as­tro­naut can­di­date ap­pli­ca­tions is go­ing to be tough: with a record­break­ing 18,300-plus ap­pli­ca­tions and just 14 spots, ap­pli­cants have less than a .08 per cent chance of get­ting picked for train­ing.

Un­til now, the record for as­tro­naut ap­pli­ca­tions was a rel­a­tively puny 8,000 and hadn’t been chal­lenged since 1978. Only 6,300 ap­plied in 2012, and that was the se­cond-big­gest ap­pli­ca­tion pool of all time.

Why are so many Amer­i­cans sud­denly set on see­ing the stars up close? NASA has em­braced so­cial me­dia in re­cent years, and the agency de­lighted in feed­ing bite-sized bits of space ex­plo­ration in­spi­ra­tion to the pub­lic in 2015. It was an amaz­ing year for space: NASA’s New Hori­zons mis­sion com­pleted a his­toric flyby of the Pluto sys­tem, and the world­wide ex­cite­ment over the event couldn’t have made for bet­ter pub­lic re­la­tions.

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