Source: This Week in Space: Help Wanted on Bone-Dry Mars


But NASA isn’t turning this into some kind of space-based reality show: The qualifications to be an astronaut candidate are still pretty specific. You need a science degree (ideally an advanced one), three years of related professional experience, or 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft. And couch potatoes, take note, you also “must pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical.”

In the dictionary, the word physical has several meanings. Which one is used here?

closed as off-topic by user3169, Glorfindel, Nathan Tuggy, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, Victor Bazarov Nov 8 '15 at 23:50

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Physical as a noun (a physical, his physical, and so forth) is a very common way of naming a physical examination: an examination, usually under medical direction, of the examinee's physical fitness.

I just took a physical for a job. Will high blood pressure be held against me? —Yahoo Questions

Four days before preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots elected to release Matt Flynn. [...] "Matt never passed his physical," the head coach said. —247Sports

During the Vietnam War, Biden got a draft notice but flunked the physical due to asthma. —Politifact


A physical, when used in this context is a medical examination. This examination is used to make sure that you are healthy enough to go into space without illness, injury or death.

The word physical is used with same meaning for most (if not all) paramilitary and military organisations.

  • 1
    "The word physical is used with same meaning for most (if not all) paramilitary and military organisations" ....and as one of the requirements for sending your child back to elementary school at the end of the summer, at least where I live. – Adam Nov 9 '15 at 18:18
  • @Adam The school needs a physical? Hm never heard of that before :D – Beta Decay Nov 9 '15 at 18:19
  • I think it is "only" required for children who will participate in the after-school sports offerings or go on any of the field trips - so effectively everyone needs one. – Adam Nov 9 '15 at 18:21

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.