NASA chose 12 new astronauts Wednesday from its biggest pool of applicants ever, hand-picking seven men and five women who could one day fly aboard the nation's next generation of spacecraft. The astronaut class of 2017 includes doctors, scientists, engineers, pilots, and military officers from Anchorage to Miami and points in between. They've worked in submarines, emergency rooms, university lecture halls, jet cockpits, and battleships. They range in age from 29 to 42, and they typically have led the pack, the AP reports. "It makes me personally feel very inadequate when you read what these folks have done," said NASA's acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot.
Vice President Mike Pence welcomed the group during a ceremony at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. He offered President Trump's congratulations and noted that the president is "firmly committed to NASA's noble mission, leading America in space." Under Trump, "America will lead in space once again, and the world will marvel," Pence said. More than 18,300 people threw their hats into the space ring during a brief application period 18 months ago. That's more than double the previous record of 8,000 set in 1978, when the space shuttles were close to launching. The 12 selected Wednesday, who now begin two years of training, will join 44 astronauts already in the NASA corps. NASA has more on the 12 here. (Read more NASA stories.)