Ever since I left Washington University in 2005, I've been searching for other graduate school programs that fit my interests and time/financial limitations. For a while, I was serious about moving to France to do the 1-year ISU masters, but it would have cost too much, so I did the ISU summer program instead. There are, of course, many options out there if you're willing to move to the school and become a full time student (e.g., MIT's TPP). I, however, need to work full time to support my family and pay the bills. Unfortunately, the programs offered by the only local university (University of Hawaii) don't quite fit my interests, so I resorted to looking at those offered online.
By spring 2007 I had decided to enroll in a program starting with the fall 2007 semester. My main goal is to gain a degree in a space-related discipline to propel my career more towards space exploration pursuits. The constraints are that I have to study part-time as a distance student and have little to no money to pay for the educational expenses. I might be willing to entertain the idea of moving to a university for PhD work in a few years, but for now, these are the limitations.
Last week, NASA announced its first astronaut candidate opportunities in 3 years. In case you're interested, the URL is here:
Those of you who know me well know that my lifelong dream is being a NASA astronaut. Over the years, I've kept abreast of the astronaut candidacy announcements as they sporadically occur. I've always been disqualified due to the vision requirement that you have to have 20/200 uncorrected vision (correctable to 20/20) or better. My vision is about 20/400. Well, I'm happy to say that NASA has finally changed its policy on this matter. Now the visual acuity parts of the announcement simply read, "Must be correctable to 20/20, each eye." I checked with the NASA page on astronaut qualifications and confirmed that there is no explicit upper bound for how bad your vision can be, as long as it is correctable to 20/20.
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