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Self-Portrait - Astronaut Steve Robinson turns the camera on himself. Image credit: NASA Self-Portrait - Astronaut Steve Robinson turns the camera on himself. Image credit: NASA

NASA selects next generation of astronauts

Sen— NASA has chosen a group of eight new astronaut trainees who will be hoping to be selected for deep space missions to destinations including an asteroid and Mars.

The 2013 astronaut candidate class comes from over 6,100 applicants, the second largest number of applications NASA ever has received. The group of four men and four women will begin training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in August.

They will receive a wide array of technical training at space centres around the world to prepare for missions to low-Earth orbit as well as new destinations which NASA plans to reach with its Orion spacecraft, which include 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."

"This year we have selected 8 highly qualified individuals who have demonstrated impressive strengths academically, operationally, and physically" said Janet Kavandi, director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center. "They have diverse backgrounds and skill sets that will contribute greatly to the existing astronaut corps. Based on their incredible experiences to date, I have every confidence that they will apply their combined expertise and talents to achieve great things for NASA and this country in the pursuit of human exploration."

The eight new astronaut candidates are:

Josh A. Cassada, Ph.D. 39. Of White Bear Lake, Minnesota. A physicist by training and currently is serving as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Quantum Opus.   Photo credit: NASA

Victor J. Glover, 37, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy. Of Pomona, California and Prosper, Texas. Currently serving as a Navy Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Congress. Photo credit: NASA

Tyler N. Hague (Nick)  37, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force.  Of Hoxie, Kansas. Currently supporting the Department of Defense as Deputy Chief of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. Photo credit: NASA

Christina M. Hammock, 34, of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Currently serving as National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Station Chief in American Samoa. Photo credit: NASA

Nicole Aunapu Mann.  35, Major, U.S. Marine Corps. Of Penngrove, California. Currently serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. Photo credit: NASA

Anne C. McClain. 34, Major, U.S. Army. Of Spokane, Washington. An OH-58 helicopter pilot, and a recent graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.  Photo credit: NASA

Jessica U. Meir. Ph.D. 35. Of Caribou, Maine. Currently an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. Photo credit: NASA

Andrew R. Morgan. M.D., 37, Major, U.S. Army. Of New Castle, Pennsylvania. Has experience as an emergency physician and flight surgeon for the Army special operations community, and currently is completing a sports medicine fellowship. Photo credit: NASA

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