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Introducing "The Flies" - NASA Astronauts Aim for Moon, Mars

Photo-Yahoo News Singapore

At the Johnson Space Center in the United States, a significant milestone was reached as ten Americans completed two years of intense training, officially earning the title of astronauts. This achievement opens the door for their participation in planned NASA missions, spanning from the International Space Station to the Moon, with aspirations of eventual missions to Mars. Alongside them, two Emiratis who underwent the same rigorous training also graduated during the ceremony held at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Dubbed "The Flies," these individuals were meticulously chosen from a pool of over 12,000 applicants in 2021. Their training regimen encompassed a wide array of simulations, including spacewalking, robotics, and understanding space station systems, among other crucial skills. Speaking at the ceremony, NASA associate administrator Jim Free emphasized the exceptional nature of these individuals, acknowledging their willingness to take on the inherent risks associated with space exploration.

The diverse composition of "The Flies" includes fighter pilots, scientists, engineers, and a medical doctor, representing a blend of both military and civilian backgrounds. Dr. Christina Birch, a member of the cohort with a doctorate in biological engineering, reminisced about the camaraderie fostered among the group during their rigorous training. She shared a poignant moment from their survival training in the Alabama backcountry, where amidst dwindling supplies, they collectively shared one final bag of peanut M&Ms, highlighting the bond forged through shared experiences.

Expressing a mix of responsibility and excitement for the future, Dr. Birch articulated the group's readiness for the challenges that lie ahead. With NASA already accepting applications for its next class of astronauts, aspiring candidates must meet specific criteria, including US citizenship and advanced degrees in science or technical fields. The job listing also emphasizes the rigorous nature of the role, with a salary of $152,258 and the caveat that remote work is not an option.

As these newly minted astronauts embark on their journey into space, they symbolize the spirit of exploration and the relentless pursuit of knowledge that defines NASA's mission. Their dedication and perseverance serve as a testament to humanity's innate curiosity about the cosmos and the boundless possibilities that lie beyond our planet's confines.

March 6, 2024 12:30 p.m. 12968

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