• Question: what would it be and why? What advice would you give a child who wanted to be an astronaut when they were older ? How would they need to act, behave, work and what GCSE would you think they need to take? Also, what A levels would you need to take? How do you get the courage to get in a rocket ? What if someone had a fear of going into space or on a rocket? What would you say? You make this world amazing . Thank you - Gemma

    Asked by Gemma Plosky to Rochelle, Michaela, Camilla, Beth, Adrian on 27 Jan 2016.
    • Photo: Camilla Weiss

      Camilla Weiss answered on 27 Jan 2016:

      Hi Gemma! I’d say you’re already on the right track by asking these questions! I think the best advice is that whatever you do make sure you do it well – work hard and be open minded because you never know what opportunity will present itself and when. A lot of astronauts come from science or engineering backgrounds so a good place to start for GCSE’s and A-Levels is with maths and at least one science – whichever ones you’re most interested in. It always helps to pick subjects you enjoy. I’m not an astronaut and I’ve not been to space myself but I imagine that for most astronauts who go up it’s something they’ve dreamed of doing since they were younger so their nerves probably get replaced by excitement! You also train really hard which helps to calm the nerves down.

    • Photo: Michaela Musilova

      Michaela Musilova answered on 27 Jan 2016:

      Hi Gemma,
      Like Camilla said , it’s great that you are already thinking about these things now and preparing yourself. I started dreaming of becoming an astronaut when I was 8 and I am still working towards that dream nearly 20 years later. It was because of this ambition that I chose to focus on sciences when in high school (I ended up specialising in biology and geology, but I also studied maths, physics and chemistry too). Then I chose my universities carefully, so that I would get the best possible space-related education available, particularly in my field of interest, astrobiology. Once at university, I tried to do at least one internship a year, to gain extra skills and improve my experience in the space sector. This allowed me to be selected to work for NASA later on and as a “marsonaut” on a simulated mission to Mars. Now, I’m still trying my best to acquire as many useful skills as possible which may help me to be chosen as an astronaut one day.
      My main advice is to go after your dream, not matter how big the obstacles may seem in front of you. For me, for example, I had a lot of financial issues and I had to fund my entire studies myself. I didn’t let it daunt me, I had part-time jobs during my studies, got scholarships and even charity funding.
      As for the rocket, I think the astronauts go through so much training and so many simulated missions, which really help them be ready for the rocket launch. It probably is still a bit scary, but when you’re very passionate about going into space, you won’t let that stop you.
      Thank you for your kind words and take care!