While we're all awaiting NASA's decision, check out the following video on astronaut selection and training by friend of this blog Astronaut Jack Fischer, who was selected by NASA in 2009.
USA TODAY reports that NASA received a near record of 6,372 applicants to the 2013 astronaut candidate opportunity. That's almost a 100% increase in applications compared with 2009 and is second only to the 1978 selection, which attracted more than 8,000 applicants. Assuming NASA selects between 9-15 new astronauts this time, the chance is only 0.14-0.24%.
This week Robert Zubrin wrote an intriguing Reason.com op-ed on estimating the worth of an astronaut's life and admonishing NASA for having a culture that is too risk averse. The long-awaited second edition of his bestselling book The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must hits bookshelves this week.