On Monday, NASA revealed the selection of 10 astronaut candidates from a pool of over 12,000 applications. The group, which includes four women, will train in the hopes of being selected for NASA's first human moon missions in more than 50 years.

The candidates are the 23rd batch of astronaut candidates chosen by NASA since the Mercury 7 were picked in 1959, and the first to be recruited after the start of NASA's Artemis moon program. The next class of 10 was chosen from a pool of over 12,000 applicants following a lengthy recruitment procedure that began in March 2020 but was delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The astronaut candidates, or "ascans," were named at a ceremony at Ellington Field, NASA's flight operations hub near Houston's Johnson Space Center. Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy presided over the ceremony, which featured some of the same T-38 supersonic jets that the ascans will train with.

"Today we welcome 10 new explorers, 10 members of the Artemis generation, NASA's 2021 astronaut candidate class," Nelson said. "Alone, each candidate has 'the right stuff,' but together they represent the creed of our country: E pluribus unum - out of many, one."

Per Space.com, NASA's new astronaut class are:

  • Nichole Ayers, 32, major, U.S. Air Force, of Colorado;

  • Marcos Berríos, 37, major, U.S. Air Forceof Guaynabo, Puerto Rico;

  • Christina Birch, 35, biochemist, of Gilbert, Arizona;

  • Deniz Burnham, 36, lieutenant, U.S. Navy, of Wasilla, Alaska;

  • Luke Delaney, 42, major, retired, U.S. Marine Corps, of Debary, Florida;

  • Andre Douglas, 35, mechanical/electrical/computer engineer, of Virginia;

  • Jack Hathaway, 39, commander, U.S. Navy, of Connecticut;

  • Anil Menon, 45, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force, of Minneapolis, Minnesota;

  • Christopher Williams, 38, physicist, of Potomac, Maryland;

  • Jessica Wittner, 38, lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy, of California.

To become an astronaut, you must be a U.S. citizen and have a master's degree in a STEM-related field (or equivalent course work), as well as at least three years of related experience or 1,000 hours of jet piloting experience. Each candidate had to pass NASA's astronaut physical as well.

After completing two years of basic training, Group 23 members will be eligible for a variety of assignments, including conducting research on the International Space Station, launching commercial spacecraft to commercial outposts in low Earth orbit, and embarking on deep space missions aboard NASA's Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Some of the candidates could join NASA's Artemis team, a subgroup of the agency's astronaut office tasked with preparing humans for a return to the moon and, eventually, a mission to Mars.