It has been announced that NASA has hired 10 astronauts, half of whom were military pilots, in preparation for its mission to send astronauts to the moon and Mars.
Houston, home to Mission Control and the astronaut corps were where NASA introduced the six men and four women to the public.
There were more than 12,000 applicants for the sought-after positions. Those selected, who are in their 30s and 40s, must endure two years of training before they are eligible for a spaceflight.
In addition to combat and test pilots, there are physicists, drilling experts, maritime roboticists, a NASA-turned-SpaceX flight surgeon, and a bioengineer who was a champion cyclist among the astronaut candidates. The United Arab Emirates will send two astronauts to train with them.
A Puerto Rican Air Force Maj. Marcos Berrios offered to fly a life-size replica of NASA's mini helicopter on Mars during a question-and-answer session.
“I know Deniz, the other helicopter pilot here, and I would love to take it for a spin for science,” Berrios said.
Since 1959, NASA has accepted 360 people into its astronaut corps. The most recent selection took place in 2017.
NASA's chief astronaut Reid Wiseman said, "We are in the golden age right now of human spaceflight" with SpaceX and other private companies sending astronauts to the International Space Station and NASA's Artemis moon-landing program.
No earlier than 2025, NASA anticipates it will send astronauts to the moon again.