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The app promising to make anyone an astronaut

The company plans to recruit a pipeline of everyday astronauts through its Space Nation Navigator app, available for free on Android and iOS. The app’s range of minigames, quizzes and other challenges function as a sort of test — how you perform will decide whether you have what it takes to make it to the next stage. Space Nation intends to run its first selection process as early as October this year, but no later than the start of 2019. Over the course of roughly three months, players from all over the world will be assessed for their compatibility and invited for psychological and health assessments. Of these, the 100 best candidates will be put through an astronaut-training program over the course of a few months, and one will be chosen to make a suborbital flight before the end of next year.

In the longer term, the intention is to repeat the exercise and get more people past the suborbital phase. Additional, more specialist training in certain academic disciplines will then take place with the idea of creating bona fide career astronauts destined for residencies on private space stations. In that sense, the initial training is like a taster course, and not entirely necessary for a passenger on, say, Virgin Galactic. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because the amount of money the company will need to raise to realize all this is astronomical (pun intended).

Though there’s no selection process happening right now, there’s already plenty going on in the Space Nation Navigator app with rotations of daily and weekly challenges. Some encourage you to move around — for example, walking the same distance as a planet’s orbit within an hour (where one meter is equivalent to 1 million kilometers). Others are relatively hard, five-minute quizzes on topics like survival and space exploration that go beyond common sense answers. Thanks to the app, I now know an ammonia leak is one of the worst things that can happen in space.