astronaut candidates — who tend to be selected in their 30s and 40s — usually leave prestigious careers for a chance at being an astronaut, starting again at the bottom of the rung. [building the international space station (photos)] in this photo: the most recent group of nasa astronauts, shown above, was selected in 2013. it was the first class to be evenly split between male and female candidates. the new astronaut class has a large variety of vehicles to look forward to. nasa hopes to bring astronauts to mars in the 2030s, if its current plan has support for that long.
upon graduating, new astronauts can be assigned to a space mission, or assigned to technical roles in the astronaut office at the johnson space center in houston. each of these agencies has its own astronauts working on the space station and in the astronaut office. the final astronaut candidates will be selected from this group of 50 people. in this photo: a flight into space is the ultimate dream for an astronaut candidate. in this photo: christina hammock (left) and jessica meir, two members of the 2013 class of astronaut candidates, swear in nasa employees at the johnson space center in august 2013. join our space forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more!
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