He Seal - He Heal - He The New Neil


  1. He Seal - He Heal - He the New Neil
  2. Astronaut candidate selection (Joel Embiid wya?!)

This week in space history

As kids we all dream of doing something exceptional with our lives - joining the Navy SEALs, graduating from Harvard Medical School, becoming an astronaut... but imagine accomplishing all three by the age of 34!! Well that's exactly what Jonny Kim has done. On June 7, 2017, Kim was chosen as part of NASA's most recent class of astronauts, and I'm featuring him because the man is literally my hero!

I'm truly in awe - any one of these is a lifetime accomplishment

Kim joined the Navy after high school and was assigned to SEAL Team 3 as a Special Warfare Operator, deploying twice to the Middle East, serving over 100 missions as combat medic and sniper, and earning both the Bronze Star and Silver Star for his valor. During a mission in 2006, two close friends were killed in action, and Kim described the feeling of helplessness not being able to save them as his inspiration to pursue medicine. Through a Navy program that allows enlisted soldiers to be commissioned as officers, Kim obtained his undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of San Diego in 2012 and his MD from Harvard in 2016

"Losing a lot of good friends galvanized me and made a lot of my remaining teammates make sure we made our lives worthwhile"

At Harvard, Kim met Scott Parazynski, a doctor and 5-time Space Shuttle veteran who convinced him to apply for NASA - I'm sure it came as no surprise that the Astronaut Office wanted him too! Kim has been in astronaut training for the past two years and is expected to finish this August. It might still be a few years before he's assigned to a mission, but I hope he gets to launch on a SpaceX Dragon or Boeing Starliner to the ISS soon!

Astronaut Group 22 - an out of this world selfie!

There's a reason astronauts are our envoy to the heavens - they represent the best of humanity, our sharpest minds and our bravest souls. And on the point of representation, as a first generation Korean American Jonny Kim is a role model for Asian Americans like myself (he's THAT KID our parents would all compare us to). I fully expect the first person on Mars to be American, but an Asian American? What a bonus that would be for me!

Learn more about his life from this great Harvard Gazette article here

Today I learned

Obviously becoming an astronaut is hard, but how hard exactly? 18,300 people applied to be part of Astronaut Group 22, and only 12 were selected, implying an acceptance rate of 0.1%! In fact, most astronauts are rejected multiple times before NASA finally accepts them. So what is NASA looking for?

Astronaut Clay Anderson was rejected a record 15 times before NASA finally accepted him in 1998. Talk about persistence!

The three basic stipulations for NASA to even consider an application are:

  1. A bachelor's in some relevant STEM field
  2. Three years of relevant professional experience OR 1,000 hours piloting a jet aircraft
  3. Ability to pass NASA's rigorous physical exam, including eyesight that can be corrected to 20/20

But obviously NASA needs more than that. Applicants are categorized as either military (who generally apply through their respective branch) or civilian (who apply to NASA directly), and from there they'll weed out anyone but the absolute experts of their fields. Finally, beyond just intellect and relevant experience, NASA puts a huge premium on leadership, interpersonal communication, and other components of having "the right stuff"

A friend of mine shared this hilarious article - apparently NBA superstar Joel Embiid has dreams of becoming a NASA astronaut one day! Trust me, his prospects don't look good... his superhuman height already disqualifies him from NASA's physical exam. But just imagine how great his vertical would be on the Moon at 1/6 gravity!!

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