Meet the 18 astronauts who could be the first humans on Mars

Astronauts who are part of NASA's Artemis program are introduced during an event in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Dec. 9, 2020.
Astronauts who are part of NASA's Artemis program are introduced during an event in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Dec. 9, 2020. (NASA TV)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA has announced the 18 astronauts who are part of the agency’s Artemis program, which aims to send humans back to the moon and eventually send the first humans to Mars.

The class of 18 astronauts was selected in 2017 from a candidate pool of more than 18,000 applicants.

Here’s a video NASA produced about the Artemis astronauts.

Here’s a closer look at the 18 astronauts, according to brief biographies provided by NASA:

Joseph Acaba

Joseph Acaba, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Acaba was a member of the United States Marine Corps, Reserves. He worked as a hydro-geologist in Los Angeles, California, primarily on Superfund sites, and was involved in the assessment and remediation of groundwater contaminants. He spent two years in the United States Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Awareness Promoter in the Dominican Republic. He was also the manager of the Caribbean Marine Research Center at Lee Stocking Island in the Exumas, Bahamas. Prior to arriving at NASA, he taught one year of high school science at Melbourne High School, Florida, and four years of middle school math and science at Dunnellon Middle School, Florida.

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Kayla Barron

Kayla Barron, an Artemis astronaut, is seen during training in this file image. (NASA)

Barron was commissioned as a Navy officer in 2010 and immediately attended graduate school. Her graduate research focused on modeling the fuel cycle for a next-generation, thorium-fueled nuclear reactor concept. Following graduate school, Barron attended the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power and submarine officer training before being assigned to the USS Maine, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine homeported in Bangor, Washington. Barron qualified as a submarine warfare officer and completed three strategic deterrent patrols while serving as a division officer aboard the Maine. At the time of her selection, Barron was serving as the Flag Aide to the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

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Raja Chari

Raja Chari, an Artemis astronaut, is seen during training in this file image. (NASA)

At the time of his selection in June 2017, Chari was a Colonel select in the U.S. Air Force, serving as the Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the Director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. He has accumulated more than 2,000 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16, and F-18 including F-15E combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployments in support of the Korean peninsula.

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Matthew Dominick

Matthew Dominick, an Artemis astronaut, is seen during training in this file image. (NASA)

Dominick was commissioned through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) following graduation from the University of San Diego in 2005 and reported to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He was designated as a Naval Aviator in 2007 and reported to Strike Fighter Squadron 106, Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, for transition to the F/A 18E Super Hornet. Following his initial training, Dominick was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 143. He made two deployments to the North Arabian Sea, flying close air support missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While with Strike Fighter Squadron 143, Dominick was selected to attend the Naval Postgraduate School / U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Co-Operative Program, where he earned a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

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Victor Glover

Victor Glover, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Following commissioning, Glover began preflight training in Pensacola, Florida, and completed his advanced flight training in Kingsville, Texas, earning his wings of gold on December 14, 2001. In 2002, Glover reported to the Marine Fleet Replacement Squadron, VMFAT‐101, in Miramar, California. In 2003, after completing the F/A‐18C syllabus, he was assigned to the Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA‐34 in Oceana, Virginia. With the Blue Blasters, he completed the final deployment of the USS John F. Kennedy (CV‐67) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed, he completed a Space Systems Certificate from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

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Warren Hoburg

Warren Hoburg, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA)

At the time of his selection in June 2017, Hoburg was an assistant professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, where he taught undergraduate courses on Dynamics and Flight Vehicle Engineering. Hoburg’s research focused on efficient methods for design of engineering systems. His group produced and maintains the open-source software tool GPkit, which is a Python package for geometric programming. His group’s tools were used to design a five-day endurance UAV currently under development for the US Air Force. Prior to MIT, he worked for Boeing Commercial Airplanes Product Development on software for composite manufacturing processes. From 2010-2013, he was a seasonal member of Yosemite Search and Rescue and an Operations Leader for the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit.

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Jonny Kim

Jonny Kim, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA)

Kim enlisted in the Navy as a Seaman recruit after graduating high school in 2002. After completion of Hospital Corpsman “A” school training, he reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, CA. After completing his training at Naval Special Warfare, Kim reported to John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, NC, for the Special Operations Combat Medic Course. He was assigned as a Special Warfare Operator to SEAL Team THREE Charlie Platoon in San Diego, California and obtained various qualifications including Military Freefall Parachutist, Combatant Diver (closed circuit rebreather), Naval Special Warfare Special Reconnaissance Scout and Sniper, and Advanced Special Operations Techniques. Kim served as a Special Operations Combat Medic, sniper, navigator and point man on more than 100 combat operations spanning two deployments to the Middle East including Ramadi and Sadr City, Iraq. He was commissioned as a naval officer through the Navy’s enlisted-to-officer commissioning program, Seaman to Admiral-21, following graduation from the University of San Diego in 2012. Upon graduation from Harvard Medical School in 2016, Kim began his medical internship with Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency. At the time of his astronaut selection in June 2017, Kim was a resident physician in emergency medicine with Partners Healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Kim remains on active duty as a Navy Lieutenant at NASA.

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Christina H. Koch

Christina H. Koch, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Koch’s career prior to becoming an astronaut spanned two general areas: space science instrument development and remote scientific field engineering. Her career began as an Electrical Engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, where she contributed to scientific instruments on several NASA space science missions. Koch then became a Research Associate in the United States Antarctic Program from 2004 to 2007. This included a yearlong stay with a winter-over at the Admunsen-Scott South Pole Station and a season at Palmer Station. While in this role, she served as a member of the Firefighting and Search and Rescue Teams. From 2007 to 2009, Koch returned to space science instrument development as an Electrical Engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s Space Department. She contributed to instruments studying radiation for NASA missions, including Juno and the Van Allen Probes. In 2010, Koch returned to remote scientific field work with tours including Palmer Station in Antarctica and multiple winter seasons at Summit Station in Greenland. In 2012, Koch continued work at remote scientific bases with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She served as a Field Engineer at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division Baseline Observatory in Utqiagvik, Alaska and then as Station Chief of the American Samoa Observatory. Throughout her career, she was involved in in technical instructing, volunteer tutoring and educational outreach.

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Kjell Lindgren

Kjell Lindgren, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

At the U.S. Air Force Academy, Lindgren was a member of the “Wings of Blue” parachute team, where he served as an instructor, a jumpmaster and a member of the academy’s intercollegiate national championship team. As a part of his masters studies at CSU, Lindgren conducted cardiovascular countermeasure research in the Space Physiology Lab at NASA Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, California. He conducted high‐altitude physiology research during medical school. Lindgren began working at Johnson Space Center in 2007. As a Wyle‐University of Texas Medical Branch flight surgeon, he supported International Space Station training and operations in Star City, Russia and water survival training in the Ukraine. At the time of his selection to the astronaut corps, he was serving as the Deputy Crew Surgeon for STS‐130 and Expedition 24.

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Nicole A. Mann

Nicole A. Mann, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Mann was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1999. Following graduate school, she completed The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia and reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, for flight training in 2001. She earned her wings of gold as a Naval Aviator in 2003 and reported to VFA-106 for fleet training in the F/A-18C. She began her operational flying career in 2004 with the Thunderbolts of VMFA-251 based out of Beaufort, South Carolina. During this assignment, she deployed twice with CVW-1 aboard the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) and flew combat missions in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. Upon return from her second deployment, Mann reported to the United States Naval Test Pilot School, Class 135, at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. In June 2009, she began her Developmental Test tour at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO THREE (VX-23) as an F/A-18 Test Pilot/Project Officer. While at VX-23, Mann executed a variety of flight tests, including loads envelope expansion, flying qualities, carrier suitability and ordnance separation in the F/A-18A-F. In the spring of 2011, Mann assumed duties as the VX-23 Operations Officer. In July 2012, Mann was assigned to PMA-281 as the Joint Mission Planning System - Expeditionary (JMPS-E) Integrated Product Team (IPT) Lead when she was selected as an astronaut candidate. She has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours in 25 types of aircraft, 200 carrier arrestments and 47 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Anne McClain

Anne McClain, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

McClain was commissioned as an Army officer in 2002 and immediately attended graduate school. Her studies at the University of Bath focused on the unsteady aerodynamics and flow visualization of free-to-roll nonslender delta wings and her research was later published through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). She concurrently researched the security burden in developing countries at nearby University of Bristol. Following graduate school, McClain earned her wings as an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout/attack helicopter pilot. She began her operational flying career with 2nd Battalion, 6th Cavalry Regiment at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii as an Air Traffic Control Platoon Leader, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Platoon Leader, then later Detachment Commander. She served 15 months in Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying more than 800 combat hours on 216 combat missions as pilot-in-command and Air Mission Commander. In 2009, she attended the Aviation Captain’s Career Course and was then assigned to 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment at Fort Rucker as the battalion operations officer and OH-58D instructor. In May 2010, she was appointed Commander of C Troop, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, responsible for the Army’s initial entry training, instructor pilot training, and maintenance test pilot training in the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. She completed Command and General Staff College and the C-12 fixed wing multiengine qualification courses in 2011 and 2012. She then attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, graduating with Class 143 in June 2013 at the same time she was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate.

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Jessica Meir

Jessica Meir, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

For her doctorate research, Meir studied the diving physiology of marine mammals and birds, focusing on oxygen depletion in diving emperor penguins (Antarctic field research) and elephant seals (northern California). She investigated the high‐flying bar-headed goose during her post‐doctoral research at the University of British Columbia, training geese to fly in a wind tunnel while obtaining various physiological measurements in reduced oxygen conditions. In 2012, Meir accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she continued her research on the physiology of animals in extreme environments. She also took part in Smithsonian Institution diving expeditions to the Antarctic and Belize, and has been very active with scientific outreach efforts.

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Jasmin Moghbeli

Jasmin Moghbeli, an Artemis astronaut, is seen during training in this file image. (NASA)

Moghbeli was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 2005 upon completion of her undergraduate degree. After completing Initial Flight School (IFS) and The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia, she reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida for flight training. She earned her wings of gold as a Naval Aviator in 2008 and reported to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 (HMLA/T‑303) for training in the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter.

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Kate Rubins

Kate Rubins, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Rubins conducted her undergraduate research on HIV-1 integration in the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She analyzed the mechanism of HIV integration, including several studies of HIV-1 Integrase inhibitors and genome-wide analyses of HIV integration patterns into host genomic DNA. She obtained her Ph.D. from Stanford University and, with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rubins and colleagues developed the first model of smallpox infection. She also developed a complete map of the poxvirus transcriptome and studied virus-host interactions using both invitro and animal model systems.

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Dr. Francisco ‘Frank’ Rubio

Frank Rubio, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA)

Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, is originally from Miami. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and a doctorate of medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Rubio has accumulated more than 1,100 hours as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, including 600 hours of combat and imminent danger time. He was serving as a surgeon for the 3rd Battalion of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, Colorado, before coming to NASA.

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Scott Tingle

Scott Tingle, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Following graduate school, Captain Tingle spent three years with the Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California, as a member of technical staff in their Propulsion Department. He was commissioned as a naval officer in 1991 and earned his wings of gold as a naval aviator in 1993. He began his operational flying career in 1994 with the Blue Diamonds of VFA-146 based in Lemoore, California. He deployed to the Western Pacific and North Arabian Gulf with Carrier Air Wing Nine aboard the USS Nimitz. Following graduation from Navy Test Pilot School in 1998, he performed as an operational test pilot for the FA-18E/F Super Hornet program with the Vampires of VX-9, located at China Lake, California. Tingle then completed a CAG Paddles tour flying FA-18A/C Hornets with Carrier Air Wing Eleven (CVW-11) aboard USS Carl Vinson. CVW-11 and USS Carl Vinson were first responders for the attacks of September 11, 2001 and Executed Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. After a tour as assistant operations officer with the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific and instructor pilot with VFA-122, he completed a department head tour as safety officer, maintenance officer and operations officer while flying the FA-18A Hornet with the Warhawks of VFA-97 (Lemoore, California). Tingle completed a deployment with CVW-11 to the Western Pacific/North Arabian Gulf and also deployed with Marine Air Group Twelve (MAG-12) to Iwakuni, Japan. In 2005, Tingle returned to Patuxent River, Maryland, as the Ship Suitability Department Head and test pilot with the Salty Dogs of VX-23. Here, he tested FA-18C Hornet, FA-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and certified aircraft carrier precision landing systems. Tingle was attached to PMA-201 as the assistant program manager/systems engineer for the Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM) and Harpoon weapon systems when selected as an astronaut. He has accumulated more than 4,500 flight hours in 51 types of aircraft, 750 carrier arrestments and 54 combat missions.

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Jessica Watkins

Jessica Watkins, an Artemis astronaut, is seen during training in this file image. (NASA)

As a graduate research fellow at UCLA, Watkins studied Mars surface processes, focusing her doctorate research on the emplacement mechanisms of large landslides on Mars and Earth through orbital image and spectral data analysis, geologic mapping, and field work. While at UCLA, she was also a teaching assistant for various courses in earth and planetary science. At the time of her selection in June 2017, Watkins was a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology, where she collaborated as a member of the Science Team for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. Her work there included participation in daily planning of rover activities, testing of Mars rock physical properties using rover drill parameters, and multi-scale investigation of the geologic history of Gale crater, Mars. While at Caltech, Dr. Watkins also served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Caltech Women’s Basketball team.

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Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie Wilson, an Artemis astronaut, is seen in this file image. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

After graduating from Harvard in 1988, Wilson worked two years for the former Martin Marietta Astronautics Group in Denver, Colorado. As a loads and dynamics engineer for Titan IV, Wilson was responsible for performing coupled loads analyses for the launch vehicle and payloads during flight events. Wilson left Martin Marietta in 1990 to attend graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research, sponsored by NASA’s Langley Research Center through a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Fellowship, focused on the control and modeling of large, flexible space structures, ultimately culminating in a thesis comparing structural dynamics methodologies and controller designs. Following the completion of her graduate work, she began working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California in 1992. As a member of the Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem team for the Galileo spacecraft, Wilson was responsible for assessing attitude controller performance, science platform pointing accuracy, antenna pointing accuracy and spin rate accuracy. She worked in the areas of sequence development and testing as well. While at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wilson also supported the Interferometry Technology Program as a member of the Integrated Modeling team, which was responsible for finite element modeling, controller design and software development.

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