Paula Pant & Mike Massimino , Afford Anything

Astronaut's Guide to Taking YOUR Moonshot, with Mike Massimino from NASA and Big Bang Theory

06 Dec 2023 • 88 min • EN
88 min
No file found

#476: Mike Massimino stared in disbelief at his TV. The date was July 16, 1969, and he marveled as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. At that moment, he knew he wanted to become an astronaut. He was six years old. But as Mike grew older, he developed more “realistic” dreams. After all, every kid wants to become an astronaut. The chances of making it are incredibly slim. He went to a local college, studied engineering, and took a job at IBM. But he couldn’t shake the tiny voice inside that said – “why not try?” So Mike upended his life. He enrolled in a Ph.D. program at MIT, and then proceeded to fail the qualification exam so badly that his professors gently suggested that perhaps a doctorate isn’t right for him. He battled to pass the exam on his second attempt, and went on to teach at Georgia Tech, from where he repeatedly submitted applications to NASA for their astronaut candidate program – which they called “as* can.” He was thrilled when he finally received his acceptance – until he learned that he needed 20/20 vision. At the time, NASA required astronauts to have naturally 20/20 eyesight, without surgery. So he sought out a doctor to help him re-train his eyesight. Then he learned that he’d need to pass a swim test. He was in his 30’s and had never swum. “Can’t I just take a math quiz?,” he joked. But he … didn’t let that sink him. (Pun intended). In today’s special episode, former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino explains how anyone – including you – can take your own moonshot. For more information, visit the show notes at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

From "Afford Anything"

Listen on your iPhone

Download our iOS app and listen to interviews anywhere. Enjoy all of the listener functions in one slick package. Why not give it a try?

App Store Logo
application screenshot

Popular categories