How To be an Astronaut
First up, I am afraid that any budding astronaut will require a bucket full of degrees and other mind-boggling requirements. Degrees in biological science, engineering, physical science, mathematics, and having 1000 hours of flying jet aircraft will also be an advantage.
If that was not enough, candidates must also pass NASA's astronaut physical examination, learn Russian, Scuba Dive and have some form of wilderness experience.
Still want to be an astronaut, then read on?
It is a little after 1 am, and three men armed with sticks and blue knapsacks make their way to room 689. Within this room, three middle-aged men are resting peacefully; they have no idea that their peaceful sleep will, in a blink of an eye, change from one of rest to total anarchy. The name on the door says "Appolo Team, Glenn, Hunt, and Gifford."
All three men had been in the Apollo program for a little over three weeks and had somewhat become accustomed to the brutal awakenings dished out by the three, seemingly sadistic keepers; however, they had not yet become accustomed to being aroused from their slumber before the sun had even risen in the east. For them, their day would not start until they had passed through one of NASA'S many mountainous assault courses.
The Tank: This 200 ft tower, filled with 6.2 million gallons of water is for most, a frightening object to look upon, let alone swim in. Used to train potential divers and astronaut's, it is, once used, never forgotten.
Divers enter the tower from the bottom of the chamber through a hatch made to look like the escape hatch of a submarine. Waiting for the diver as he enters the tank is a trainer who immediately pushes the unsuspecting diver under a bell in which there is an air bubble, this allows the diver to take just one breath of air.
Once the trainer is satisfied that the diver has taken a breath of air, he then yanks him out and points to the surface of the tank.
From this point on, things happen fast, the diver immediately starts to rise to the surface, in some cases very quickly but for those not using the correct breathing techniques, very slowly.
Stationed every 20 ft or so, trainers keep a good watch on the now rising student. If any of these trainers notice that the student is not using correct breathing techniques they will then approach him, look him squarely in the eyes before punching him in the stomach which releases all air from his body.
This quick punch will then send the trainee hurtling to the surface. (Authors note: All trainees were told to breathe out continually as they are rising in the tank to ensure they reach the top in the quickest time)
I did this many years ago, and I still remember it as if it were yesterday.
Once out of the tank, it is time to hit the hills, and hit the hills we do. Forced to walk through the night we find ourselves tumbling down the side of a ravine so steep that we can't walk, we simply just hang on to anything we can see sending the bent shrubs whipping back into the faces of our comrades, flaying the skin from their faces.
None of us wants to continue, but continue we do until just below the horizon, a strange pulsating light forces us to backtrack along the small tracks we had made through the thorny undergrowth.
Large black crows circle overhead, diving down towards our heads, sometimes scratching our faces with their massive claws, we duck down and watch as the light descends below the horizon.
Not long after, we continue our flight through the undergrowth while at the same time waiting for the shapes of our barrack shelters to come into view, we would wait for a long time, but when they finally come into view, we cheer and speed towards them.
Our bodies by now are breaking; they are but a small parody of what they were, but we had won, we had managed to break free from the horrors of the COVID-19 virus or at least we hoped we had.
What will tomorrow bring? Probably much the same as today, however, one thing is certain, whatever it brings, we can be sure that those little men with their small blue rucksacks will be there, and yes, they will once again attempt to break us; however, tomorrow is just another day, and who knows, if we stick together, then maybe, we will break them, and in doing so will once and for all rid the planet of the horrors of COVID-19.
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Still, want to become an Astronaut? Then Good luck.