HOUSTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. space agency NASA on Tuesday formally introduced its eight newest candidates and unveiled a space exploration roadmap that outlines its future missions to near-Earth asteroids, the moon and Mars, U.S. media reported.
The eight members of the the 2013 astronaut class, half men and half women, faced a crowd of media at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston Tuesday, local TV KTRK reported. They were aged between 34 to 39 and were chosen from a pool of about 6,300 applicants nationwide.
These next-generation American astronauts will be among those who will have the opportunity to fly on new commercial space transportation systems that are now under development. They also will be among those to plan and carry out the first-ever human missions to an asteroid and Mars, the report said.
The group in next two years will participate in extensive technical training at space centers and remote locations around the world to prepare for missions beyond low-Earth orbit.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden also spoke about the updated Global Exploration Roadmap on the occasion. The roadmap reflects the work of 12 space agencies of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group and highlights their shared interest in pursuing deep space exploration. According to the roadmap, NASA plans to land its astronauts on Mars in the 2030s.