NASA just graduated its newest class of astronauts. Out of the over 18,300 applicants from all around the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, there are the 12 who were selected. For those doing the math, that puts the odds of being selected at less than 1 in 1,500. 2017’s class is full of incredibly talented people with backgrounds ranging from engineering, the Navy, the Marines, to geoscience. One of the most exciting parts? Roughly half of them are women!
Jessica Watkins may be a new astronaut, but she isn’t new to space exploration. Already exploring Mars as part of the JPL team that operates the Curiosity rover, the Stanford graduate enjoys a rich life outside of work. With a Ph.D. from UCLA and a postdoctorate from Caltech working to discover Mars’ geological history, Watkins also writes short stories, flies planes, and plays rugby.