Should I mention my dreams of becoming an astronaut?


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Aug 17, 2015
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Hi everyone!

first time posting :)
I've wanted to be an astronaut ever since around the time I finished high school. I am an incoming third year now at UCLA/UC Berkeley (not saying which to be anonymous). I really would love to talk about my professional goals to adcoms but how would it be perceived? A part of me think it would be a bad thing since they might be inclined to wonder "if you want to be an astronaut, why are you sitting here asking us to accept you to be a doctor".

If it matters - i've made sure to show that I take my dreams very seriously. grades are decent (3.75 cgpa and climbing), im studying 3rd year russian this fall alongside all my pre-med req, etc..

Thanks for your opinions SDN!

-imtotallynotbradpitt
 

Catalystik

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Hi everyone!

first time posting :)
I've wanted to be an astronaut ever since around the time I finished high school. I am an incoming third year now at UCLA/UC Berkeley (not saying which to be anonymous). I really would love to talk about my professional goals to adcoms but how would it be perceived? A part of me think it would be a bad thing since they might be inclined to wonder "if you want to be an astronaut, why are you sitting here asking us to accept you to be a doctor".

If it matters - i've made sure to show that I take my dreams very seriously. grades are decent (3.75 cgpa and climbing), im studying 3rd year russian this fall alongside all my pre-med req, etc..

Thanks for your opinions SDN!

-imtotallynotbradpitt
@familyaerospace for his perspective.
 
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gonnif

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Hi everyone!

first time posting :)
I've wanted to be an astronaut ever since around the time I finished high school. I am an incoming third year now at UCLA/UC Berkeley (not saying which to be anonymous). I really would love to talk about my professional goals to adcoms but how would it be perceived? A part of me think it would be a bad thing since they might be inclined to wonder "if you want to be an astronaut, why are you sitting here asking us to accept you to be a doctor".

If it matters - i've made sure to show that I take my dreams very seriously. grades are decent (3.75 cgpa and climbing), im studying 3rd year russian this fall alongside all my pre-med req, etc..
Likely 95% plus of all adcoms it would be the first thing, if not the only thing they think.
 

Doudline

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Why medicine in particular? Do you even have any interest in the profession itself, or does it solely constitute a stepping stone towards your dream?

I imagine it would cause the same reaction as a law school applicant stating he wants to become a Supreme Court justice, or a Public Affairs aspirant to become the next Secretary of State or POTUS... aka not a very good one.

Me thinks you'll have to answer many questions and suffer great scrutiny.
 
OP
imtotallynotbradpitt
Aug 17, 2015
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Likely 95% plus of all adcoms it would be the first thing, if not the only thing they think.
This is pretty much all I needed to hear unless there are other points to be made!
Many docs have made it to space and have contributed greatly to medicine - I suppose I want to do the same but I'll be honest and say that I really can't articulate my motivations as well as I would like when scrutinized at this moment. Perhaps when I am wiser and more experienced with medicine.
 

LizzyM

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Let me turn it around. Why do you want to be an astronaut? Why is that a career goal? What do you see yourself doing in space other than looking out the window (which I would be doing all of the time -- I do that just riding in an airplane)
 
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Don't make it the thesis of your application.

You are applying to medical school, not astronaut school. Unless you have serious involvements in space exploration research, or worked at NASA for several years, I would focus my efforts on everyday doctors and patients first. If you really want to reach for the stars, perhaps you could submit an MD/PhD app with a space jam'd theme, but it would be hard to pull off.

If you know of a medical school with a mission to serve the people of outer space, then you could mention it, but why risk putting yourself in a pigeonhole?

Focus on what is expected of you. While we all have dreams, not all of them are appropriate in the context of medical school.
 

ElCapone

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Hi everyone!

first time posting :)
I've wanted to be an astronaut ever since around the time I finished high school. I am an incoming third year now at UCLA/UC Berkeley (not saying which to be anonymous). I really would love to talk about my professional goals to adcoms but how would it be perceived? A part of me think it would be a bad thing since they might be inclined to wonder "if you want to be an astronaut, why are you sitting here asking us to accept you to be a doctor".

If it matters - i've made sure to show that I take my dreams very seriously. grades are decent (3.75 cgpa and climbing), im studying 3rd year russian this fall alongside all my pre-med req, etc..

Thanks for your opinions SDN!

-imtotallynotbradpitt
Short term, you'd make a good candidate for aerospace med
 

Doug Underhill

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What kind of astronaut background do you have? If you are an ASCAN, that would probably be a fairly impressive EC, even if you didn't make it to space.

NASA likes doctoral experience and wants hard science for everyone who isn't a pilot.
 
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This is pretty much all I needed to hear unless there are other points to be made!
Many docs have made it to space and have contributed greatly to medicine - I suppose I want to do the same but I'll be honest and say that I really can't articulate my motivations as well as I would like when scrutinized at this moment. Perhaps when I am wiser and more experienced with medicine.
It sounds like adcom would be right to question your desire to become a doctor. Not sure what stage you are in the game, but should prob explore that a bit... I'm 250k in debt, working 30 hour shifts every 4 days, and I'm still 7-10 years out from finishing my foreseeable training... "Can't really articulate my motivations for medicine" is the opposite of what adcom are looking for, and that you feel that way should be an impetus for you to explore why medicine is on your radar. It's not something to commit to willy nilly. That probably sounds fairly negative, but I'm not trying to discourage you, just figure out better what it is that you're looking for in a career and in your life and how medicine fits into that picture
 

Goro

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I'm going to pull the knife out and tell you my first thought would be "and what do you want to do when you grow up?"

We'd take you a LOT more seriously if you had some military experience and/or have logged a lot of pilot hours.

Just stick with that you have an interest in aerospace medicine, and why.



Hi everyone!

first time posting :)
I've wanted to be an astronaut ever since around the time I finished high school. I am an incoming third year now at UCLA/UC Berkeley (not saying which to be anonymous). I really would love to talk about my professional goals to adcoms but how would it be perceived? A part of me think it would be a bad thing since they might be inclined to wonder "if you want to be an astronaut, why are you sitting here asking us to accept you to be a doctor".

If it matters - i've made sure to show that I take my dreams very seriously. grades are decent (3.75 cgpa and climbing), im studying 3rd year russian this fall alongside all my pre-med req, etc..

Thanks for your opinions SDN!

-imtotallynotbradpitt
 

JulioJones

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UTMB and Baylor have aerospace medicine tracks with their medical programs, they might not question you considerably there, and you'd be close to NASA.
 
OP
imtotallynotbradpitt
Aug 17, 2015
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Thank you everyone for your thoughts. Medicine is not a "stepping stone" for me. Definitely I will show that I am interested in this particular study of medicine just as much as someone else might be interested in psychiatry or surgery. Spouting out "I want to be an astronaut" seems too premature and does more harm than good.

First and foremost, I want to be a doctor.
Becoming one is already a difficult dream to achieve - definitely. A NASA flight surgeon - even more so. An astronaut - much much more. I'd have a better chance of being Brad Pitt.... It seems I should focus on immediate goals for now and demonstrate I know what I am getting into when it comes to medicine before daydreaming further (doing so only seems to make people question your career choice).

Thank you everyone!
-imtotallynotbradpitt
 
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familyaerospace

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Well I am not on the adcomm, but I think it would be good (and safe) for you to just stick with "Oh I have an interest in aerospace medicine." Specifically it is considered preventative medicine.

Now, once you are all done with medical school you can certainly start to look into the astronaut program. It's really hard to get into (making med school look like a cinch), but I can't imagine it would hurt if you were an MD first. They do try to get at least two people who are EMT level on every mission.

Doctors have definitely been in space. I interviewed one once. When it comes down to it though, you really really want to be sure that you want to be a doctor as you are looking at four years of hell, then most likely 4-5 years of a residency that leads to an aerospace fellowship. Want to be a doctor for itself. Potential astronaut is a bonus.

I am not joking about the hell. I am on week 2 and all my medical school stuff (books, notes, laptop) that was NOT in my school locker was stolen just a few hours ago.
 
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It seems I should focus on immediate goals for now and demonstrate I know what I am getting into when it comes to medicine before daydreaming further (doing so only seems to make people question your career choice).

Thank you everyone!
-imtotallynotbradpitt
I'm not sure what you mean by short term goals, so just to clarify. I think focusing on short term goals is how people get in trouble and end up doing something they weren't meant to. Just gotta get this A. Just gotta get this volunteering done. Just gotta rock the mcat, get this interview, ace this interview, rock these med school classes, kill step. Then get to clinicals and realize you don't like the day to day, patient interaction, etc, and you're stuck. I have friends it's happened to. Short term goals are good/necessary, they make life manageable, but there should always be some greater context, reflection, etc. What reasons do you want to be an astronaut? What does the career path look like for that and what are the chances of success? Same for being a doctor. How do these goals fit in with each other and your plans to have a social life, family? Not looking for you to reply with answers, just things to think about
 
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I'm so confused by this. You didn't mention aerospace medicine at all in your original post, it seems like you really want to be an astronaut but sorta want to be a doctor and aren't all that interested in combining them. This seems to me like going into a med school interview talking about how much you want to be a chemical engineer.
 

familyaerospace

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I'm so confused by this. You didn't mention aerospace medicine at all in your original post, it seems like you really want to be an astronaut but sorta want to be a doctor and aren't all that interested in combining them. This seems to me like going into a med school interview talking about how much you want to be a chemical engineer.
If you are an MD who is becoming an astronaut you are going to be working in aerospace medicine technically.
 

Goro

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Oh, fer cryin' out loud, aero? What else can happen to you?????

Stuff stolen out of your car? This has happened to my students, alas.

I am not joking about the hell. I am on week 2 and all my medical school stuff (books, notes, laptop) that was NOT in my school locker was stolen just a few hours ago.
 

familyaerospace

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Oh, fer cryin' out loud, aero? What else can happen to you?????

Stuff stolen out of your car? This has happened to my students, alas.
My house.

I left for an hour to go to the bank to get some money to buy a dissection kit then decided to get some ice cream. It took about an hour.

Came home. Noticed laptop was not where I put it. Hmm... that is odd. Then noticed stuff was literally all over my office. Called the police, it was a non-forced entry (as if someone had a key) and they unlocked my two back doors. One of which is always, 100% double locked as the door scares the hell out of me.

My personal laptop which is a few years old, but was in my bedroom, remained untouched. The meds I have which have a high street value.... untouched. They were obviously aiming for my office. They also stole one of my backpacks as the stuff was thrown all over the office.

I want to be anywhere but here right now.

For anyone who is at MCG and who has not figured out who I am by now knows for sure now!
 

Ad2b

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@familyaerospace - is the school helping you get the funds to replace? or ... can we set up a GFM for you? That makes me angry that someone would do that to you ... seriously.

@imtotallynotbradpitt -

There's this: https://www.reddit.com/r/nasa/comments/2np3vt/does_nasa_employ_many_medical_doctors/
And this: http://astronauts.nasa.gov/content/faq.htm
And this: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/660685main_NASA Progress Report NNX10AT57A 2012.pdf

You've probably already read them, but I found them interesting :)

(and you really don't want to be BP, he smells, refuses to use deodorant, or shower ;) )
 
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Oh_Gee

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My house.

I left for an hour to go to the bank to get some money to buy a dissection kit then decided to get some ice cream. It took about an hour.

Came home. Noticed laptop was not where I put it. Hmm... that is odd. Then noticed stuff was literally all over my office. Called the police, it was a non-forced entry (as if someone had a key) and they unlocked my two back doors. One of which is always, 100% double locked as the door scares the hell out of me.

My personal laptop which is a few years old, but was in my bedroom, remained untouched. The meds I have which have a high street value.... untouched. They were obviously aiming for my office. They also stole one of my backpacks as the stuff was thrown all over the office.

I want to be anywhere but here right now.

For anyone who is at MCG and who has not figured out who I am by now knows for sure now!
are you really an astronaut?
 

Oh_Gee

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Hi everyone!

first time posting :)
I've wanted to be an astronaut ever since around the time I finished high school. I am an incoming third year now at UCLA/UC Berkeley (not saying which to be anonymous). I really would love to talk about my professional goals to adcoms but how would it be perceived? A part of me think it would be a bad thing since they might be inclined to wonder "if you want to be an astronaut, why are you sitting here asking us to accept you to be a doctor".

If it matters - i've made sure to show that I take my dreams very seriously. grades are decent (3.75 cgpa and climbing), im studying 3rd year russian this fall alongside all my pre-med req, etc..

Thanks for your opinions SDN!

-imtotallynotbradpitt
watch 5 years from now we see the real brad pitt graduate from medical school
 
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UNMedGa

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Were you hoping to become a doctor on the International Space Station, or something to that effect?

I'd say either way, I concur with the others - you probably should keep it to expressing an interest in aerospace medicine, and it shouldn't be the central theme of your app.
 

mehc012

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If you are an MD who is becoming an astronaut you are going to be working in aerospace medicine technically.
Right, that would be what links the two...but OP has not really said anything about the intersection of the two.
It's not always a given that someone who likes A and also likes B will enjoy the overlapping portions of A+B. Hell, I'm a chemistry major, biology minor (or close enough), but I don't particularly enjoy biochemistry.

To me, saying "I want to be a doctor and an astronaut" is a very different statement from "I would like to pursue aerospace medicine," even if being an astrodoc is the ultimate dream within that goal.
 

familyaerospace

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@Ad2b - I haven't asked. In theory I could replace it when my loans settle (they just settled confirmed today) and when my credit card is paid down. I have a scheduled payment of $4K to it to hit in a few days once my bank decides to send it. They always hold payments for two days. Then I am going to buy a new one and drop it off at IT in order to have them reset it up. They know what has to be set up. One of my classmates is going to loan me a laptop which literally can ONLY go on the internet which means hopefully I can access d2l which is one of the only things my old laptop can't do (hence why it cannot be used).

@Oh_Gee - Not an astronaut. Just worked with them on and off since 2004 and I did some research with them that is being used by NASA and RSA. It's a long story.

@mehc012 - this is true, however if he is an MD and he is tapped for the astronaut corps, he will be doing aerospace medicine by definition as part of the job. Now OP can also get his astronaut wings by being a space tourist but I don't think that is what he is going for. It is still better than saying "I want to be an astronaut when I grow up."
 
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mehc012

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[USER=481023]@mehc012
- this is true, however if he is an MD and he is tapped for the astronaut corps, he will be doing aerospace medicine by definition as part of the job. Now OP can also get his astronaut wings by being a space tourist but I don't think that is what he is going for. It is still better than saying "I want to be an astronaut when I grow up."[/USER]
Oh aye, I agree...I was just pointing out why those two statements are so different, even though they would play out the same way in the real world. One incorporates the 'doctor' aspect, the other does not - and one accepts the 95% reality, while the other does not.

Not disagreeing with you, just trying to make it clear that OP should say 'I want to go into aerospace medicine' if that is what they intend to do, rather than 'I want to be an astronaut', even if they think that saying the latter implies the former.
 
OP
imtotallynotbradpitt
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I will neither confirm not deny my identity.

Oh aye, I agree...I was just pointing out why those two statements are so different, even though they would play out the same way in the real world. One incorporates the 'doctor' aspect, the other does not - and one accepts the 95% reality, while the other does not.

Not disagreeing with you, just trying to make it clear that OP should say 'I want to go into aerospace medicine' if that is what they intend to do, rather than 'I want to be an astronaut', even if they think that saying the latter implies the former.
Back on topic: I enjoy both the latter and former, but thank you for the concern! Numerous people have given their recommendation already in that I should really first get into med school (like thats easy, even for an A list actor..:confused:) and then begin to demonstrate my passion for aerospace med in whatever ways possible. This thread has been very enlightening :)
 
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I secretly have similar desires. I have done a lot of research on working at McMurdo Station as a doctor (I emailed them and they didn't have anything for premeds:() just because it gives me a similar vibe. I am also a private pilot and I teach physics.
LET ME INTO THAT ROCKET!! :boom:
 

mehc012

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familyaerospace

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@familyaerospace - is the school helping you get the funds to replace? or ... can we set up a GFM for you? That makes me angry that someone would do that to you ... seriously.
I did want to give a slight update to this. I was surprised at the end of lecture today. Apparently several of my classmates got together and did contribute some funds towards being able to replace some of my things. That was a remarkable surprise to be honest.
 

Ad2b

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@familyaerospace - I'm so happy to hear that! If someone had not ... was prepared to do a GFM with an anonymous paypal account for you. People who steal from others make me ill (as they do most of us). In your case, knowing what you've already been through, overcome, achieved - just made probably all of us who know your story want to do something to help you. Keep rockin' med school :)
 
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allantois

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Better than wanting to be a libertarian senator from KY!
 

familyaerospace

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@familyaerospace - I'm so happy to hear that! If someone had not ... was prepared to do a GFM with an anonymous paypal account for you. People who steal from others make me ill (as they do most of us). In your case, knowing what you've already been through, overcome, achieved - just made probably all of us who know your story want to do something to help you. Keep rockin' med school :)
Thanks.

I wish I was rocking anything in med school. Only thing I am rocking is PBL and PD. I hate and do not understand biochemistry which all my notes have been stolen from and there is a quiz on Monday. I wasn't able to take decent notes without the slides which I can't access. Sigh. I've resigned to likely fail the module but that is ok. If it needs to be that way, it needs to be that way. I've also been informed by a few faculty members that I don't really belong there. I am not really pleased with that. That is what really ticks me off if I can be blunt about it.

My classmates though, some of them are something else. Really, I am lucky to have them. I made the dean put a positive note in all of their files for their future dean's letter.
 

StraightOuttaBrooklyn

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Maybe you could make mention of your interests in aerospace medicine; possibility of pilot and astronaut rehabilitative medicine. Clearly this is a passion of yours and you'd be able to have an at-length discussion about it, and this would still help you to "stick out" so-to-speak.
 

Gandyy

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Man aerospace medicine would be awesome! How does this work? What does it entail? Its just a separate 5 year residency after medical school?
 

familyaerospace

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You have no idea...

And people wonder why I have a self confidence problem. I had one of the attendings invite me to help him with something and we obtained permission for me to do it. (I am one of the few people who actually CAN do it), then I was screamed at by another staff member for 45 minutes as well as by students because I was where I was told to be. I was not happy.
 

familyaerospace

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Man aerospace medicine would be awesome! How does this work? What does it entail? Its just a separate 5 year residency after medical school?
You can either get a joint residency like through UTMB which will let you come out board certified in Internal medicine and Aerospace or you can do a separate fellowship. There are not a ton of civilian programs unfortunately. There is UTMB, Wright State (I think), and a new one at Mayo. There was also a DO program but I cannot remember where that is. Generally you will want to do a residency in Internal Medicine, or possibly Family or Emergency. I believe Mayo accepts Neurology as well. There is, I believe, an alternative way of getting boarded in Aerospace and I suspect assuming I *survive* medical school I am going to opt to do that one. It might be easier for me since I will have two of the three requirements by the time I am finished with year one of residency (intern year and 1 year of aerospace research). Might be able to get the third one done (MPH) early but I will decide that later.
 

Gandyy

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You can either get a joint residency like through UTMB which will let you come out board certified in Internal medicine and Aerospace or you can do a separate fellowship. There are not a ton of civilian programs unfortunately. There is UTMB, Wright State (I think), and a new one at Mayo. There was also a DO program but I cannot remember where that is. Generally you will want to do a residency in Internal Medicine, or possibly Family or Emergency. I believe Mayo accepts Neurology as well. There is, I believe, an alternative way of getting boarded in Aerospace and I suspect assuming I *survive* medical school I am going to opt to do that one. It might be easier for me since I will have two of the three requirements by the time I am finished with year one of residency (intern year and 1 year of aerospace research). Might be able to get the third one done (MPH) early but I will decide that later.
Interesting. So as an aerospace physician, what would you do exactly? You know a lot more about this than I do obviously.
 

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I heard this, a scientist who does not know the words to shakespeare, is as ignorant as a humanitarian who does not know the second law of thermodynamics. I think modern science, or modern intellect needs to have overlaps between subjects, to help expand our knowledge of things. Which is a good thing for students of knowledge.

But then again medicine has so much variety from biology,physics,chemistry,etc, so really as a doctor you need to to focus on medicine, unless in the near future we will need you in Mars my friend.
 

familyaerospace

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Interesting. So as an aerospace physician, what would you do exactly? You know a lot more about this than I do obviously.
It's because I worked in this field specifically when getting my MS. I would be working for NASA right now if that astronaut had not lost her mind in 2007.

What you would do really depends on where you are working. It could be as mundane as simply doing the occasional flight physical (most of the civilians are doing this) to doing flight disaster investigation. Some of the military and NASA aerospace medicine physicians are doing research on how the human body reacts to extreme changes (such as zero g) and finding ways to keep our pilots and astronauts healthy while on their mission and when they come back home. One of the benefits is if you are military, you apparently have to go fly on some of the jets so you can experience what your patients experience. As far as NASA goes, one of their aerospace docs told me it was 90% primary care, 5% pathology, and 5% aerospace specific medicine.
 
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