Many children dream of becoming an astronaut when they grow up. And this is because it is in the nature of man to explore his environment, let alone space.
But what does it take to become an astronaut? This question is answered by Dr. Petros Dinas, researcher in human physiology at the Environmental Physiology Laboratory, and teaching at the School of Physical Education, Sports and Dietetics of the University of Thessaly. He holds 5 university degrees including a Masters in Space Sciences and a PhD in Exercise Physiology. He saw first hand the efforts of people to make their dream come true, to become an astronaut as he worked with scientists from NASA.
Speaking to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency about the appropriate supplies needed in this effort, he emphasizes that first, he needs to have studied a subject related to space such as engineering, biological sciences, physics, mathematics, computers and medicine. In recent years space agencies have required not only a basic university degree, but also a master’s/doctorate.
Also, one of the first things that are evaluated once someone applies to be an astronaut is their ability to lead a team, participate in a group work and communicate with other people. A basic requirement is that the prospective astronaut must be between 1.50 and 1.90 meters tall, and this is because they must fit inside the spaceship or space station as well as be up to 50 years old. He should also have a normal body mass index, i.e. he should not be overweight or underweight, and his vision and hearing should be near perfect. So as long as someone has the above qualifications, they can pass the initial selection stage.
Then, according to him, he will be reassessed for his physical condition, which should be very good and on par with athletes, he should be an excellent swimmer and this is because astronauts train in water that simulates gravity conditions of space. Also, in this second stage of evaluation, the prospective astronauts will be evaluated on driving a car, while they will be asked if they have ever done any dangerous profession (e.g. aircraft pilot, army, diver, racing driver, etc.). Prospective astronauts who have previously worked in a dangerous profession, Mr. Dinas emphasizes, are considered suitable for their ability to decide on their actions quickly and correctly, which in space is necessary for safety reasons.
Of course, the selection does not end here, since, the Greek scientist continues, the prospective astronauts are also subjected to mental tests, such as the ability to read with very little help from visual aids, to be able to carry out verbal commands and also to communicate verbally with other people . Of course, the fact that someone will pass all the above selection stages does not mean that he will eventually become an astronaut. And this is because he will have to successfully pass the training stage where he will have to learn to operate and repair robotic systems, survive in extreme environments and manage his behavior and emotions with absolute precision.
In the final selection stage, of course, luck is also needed because one or two will be chosen to travel into space from among many who will have successfully passed all the above selection stages. To conclude by emphasizing that if one aims to become an astronaut to become rich, then he is probably wrong, because the salary of an astronaut (about 5,400–8,600 per month) does not exceed the salary of a civil aviation pilot. So, one should have a lifelong dream and love the job of an astronaut.
Dr. Petros Dina’s main area of research is human brown fat, which he has investigated using genetic markers and positron emission tomography. He has previously worked as a Research Fellow in Human Physiology at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, where he specialized in systematic literature review and post-analysis. It has been funded by the European Agency for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization to conduct systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses. He has more than 60 scientific publications, some of which have been used to develop health improvement guidelines by state governments or international organizations.