Washington: After an extensive year-and-a-half search, NASA has picked eight new potential astronauts who will help the agency push the boundaries of exploration and travel to new destinations in the solar system, including an asteroid and Mars.
The 2013 astronaut candidate class comes from the second largest number of applications NASA has received-more than 6,000. Half of the selectees are women, making this the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected for a class.
The group will receive a wide array of technical training at space centers and remote locations around the globe to prepare for missions to low-Earth orbit, an asteroid and Mars.
"These new space explorers asked to join NASA because they know we`re doing big, bold things here-developing missions to go farther into space than ever before," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
"They`re excited about the science we`re doing on the International Space Station and our plan to launch from U.S. soil to there on spacecraft built by American companies. And they`re ready to help lead the first human mission to an asteroid and then on to Mars ," he added.
The new astronaut candidates will begin training at NASA`s Johnson Space Center in Houston in August.