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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

Astronaut Class of 2013

June 18, 2013

After an extensive year-and-a-half search, NASA has a new group of 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. Eight candidates have been selected to be NASA’s newest astronaut trainees, hoping to be among those who are the first to launch from U.S. soil on commercial American spacecraft since the retirement of the space shuttle.

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.

credit: NASA

[ Read the Article: NASA Whittles Down New Astronaut Candidates To Eight ]