NASA's New Women Astronauts Equal Number of Men

NASA's new class of astronauts are gender equal for the first time in their history.

Eight new astronauts were inducted into the new class of 2013, with four of them being women, the highest percentage to date.

The eight new astronauts will train at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and prepare to be on the first manned mission to an asteroid, set for some time during the 2020s, and then eventually a mission to Mars in the 2030s, according to

"These new space explorers asked to join NASA because they know we're doing big, bold things here- developing missions to go farther into space than ever before," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

The women astronauts elected are Major Nicole Aunapu Mann, a Marines F/A 18 pilot, graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Stanford University; Major Anne McClain, a U.S. Army, Westpoint graduate, and OH-58 helicopter pilot. The other two astronauts are Jessica Meir, an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School with a Ph. D. from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography; and Christina Hammock, a Graduate of North Carolina State University, Chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration station in American Samoa.

The four men, all from the military, are Dr. Andrew Morgan, Joe Cassada, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Victor Glover, and Air Force Lt. Col. Tyler Hague.

Today also marks the 30th anniversary of the first woman in space, Sally Ride.

With recent discoveries on Mars, perhaps the new astronaut class will have more to inspect in the next 20 years.

NASA's Opportunity Mars Rover discovered evidence of water on Mars and scientists now believing the Red Planet could have once supported life.

Launching in 2003, the Opportunity rover has spent the last decade studying the planet's surface and sending NASA reports and data. In 2010, a second rover named Spirit stopped being useful after getting stuck in Martian soil.

The Opportunity rover found evidence of water in a cracked rock in Cape York, a site on Mars, reported The International Business Times. Scientists believe the rock had been changed by water due to the levels of erosion seen.

"What's so special about Esperance [the rock] is that there was enough water not only for reactions that produced clay minerals, but also enough to flush out ions set loose by those reactions, so that Opportunity can clearly see the alteration," Steve Squyres from Cornell University told the IBTimes.

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