LOS ANGELES, June 18. /ITAR-TASS reporter Alexandra Urusova /. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration / NASA / has chosen eight Americans that will be able to participate in the first mission to Mars by 2020, as said in a statement of NASA on Monday.
“The new space explorers are inspired by our scientific experiments that are carried out on the International Space Station,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “They are ready to lead the first mission outpost on an asteroid and Mars.”
Among the eight lucky winners are four women and four men. The candidates for a year and a half have been passing a series of complex tests, psychological and physical tests, as well as physical evaluation boards. The number of applicants exceeded 780 people on one place. Now the members of the group are to go through elaborate preparation, which will start in August this year at the training center of American astronauts in Houston.
NASA has informed that special seminars and workshops will be held in different parts of the world where space explorers have to learn diverse features related to the upcoming mission. If they end successfully, the selected eight people will join the 48 experienced NASA astronauts for future “missions to low-Earth orbit, an asteroid and Mars”. The biographies of candidates confirm that to the Red Planet will go the best of the best. Among them is a doctor in medical sciences, four test pilots, military and scientists. In NASA’s choice gender parity can be traced. According to experts’ opinion, NASA for the first time made this step and has given equal rights to men and women to explore the distant planet.
All candidates are in the prime of life: their age ranges from 34 to 39 years.
“We’ve chosen eight highly qualified professionals who have shown impressive scientific, physical and psychological preparation ,” pointed out the representative of the Johnson Space Center. “They have a wide variety of skills that they will be able to share with the crew and we are totally sure that the candidates with their experience and talents can afford much in the field of human space exploration.”
Among the new recruits is a former military pilot, a physicist by training, Josh Cassada. Victor Glover serves in the U.S. Navy, test pilot by education. Tyler (Nick) Hague is also a test pilot, currently is serving at the Pentagon and is engaged in research on disposal of improvised explosive devices. Christina Hammock heads researches in the field of oceanography. Nicole Mann serves in the Marine Corps and Anne McClain is a military and recently has graduated the test pilots school. Jessica Meir conducts researches in the School of Medicine at Harvard University. M.D. Andrew Morgan develops own methods in the area of sports medicine and has extensive experience in medical emergencies.
According to local media, the salary of future astronauts during the training will range between $60,000 and $140,000 a year.