Do you have the “right stuff”?

I just started reading Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars today and came across this passage*:

Here’s the other thing that’s changed since the heyday of space exploration. Crews aboard [space craft] are two to three times the size of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo crews, and the mission spans weeks or months, not days.

This makes the Mercury-era “right stuff” the wrong stuff. Astronauts have to be people that play well with others. NASA’s recommended astronaut attribute list includes an Ability to Relate to Others with Sensitivity, Regard, and Empathy. Adaptability, Flexibility, Fairness. Sense of Humor. An Ability to Form Stable and Quality Interpersonal Relationships. Assertiveness has to be “Appropriate” and Risk-taking has to be “Healthy.”

As I read this, it struck me that the NASA list seems like a pretty good one to apply to an Earth-bound life too.

*I also realized once again how much I now miss reading on my Kindle since I had to bookmark that page and then type the whole passage here instead of being able to highlight it and copy-paste it. I know, I know…first world problems.

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