06.18.132:02 PM ET

Highest Number of Female Astronauts Picked

Candidates, half of whom are women, next head to NASA training.

Finally, 50 percent of the population may be equally represented in outer space. NASA has chosen its new class of astronaut candidates, and four of the eight are women, which marks the highest percentage of females it has ever selected. The women are Christina M. Hammock, a NOAA station chief; Nicole Aunapu Mann, a naval pilot and product-team chief; Jessica U. Meir, a professor of anesthesia at Harvard; and Anne C. McClain, a naval pilot. The select group was culled from NASA’s pool of 6,000 applicants—its largest ever. The candidates will next head to Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they’ll train to potentially be the first astronauts since the retirement of the space shuttle.