NASA has included 3 San Diego college graduates in a group of 18 astronauts who will train to fly to the moon and land, alabaster surface by 2024.
On Wednesday, the space agency formally appointed Kate Rubins, Jessica Meir, and Jonny Kim to Project Artemis, the first effort to place Americans on lunar soil since Project Apollo ended in 1972.
The announcement came as Rubins, 42, was conducting research aboard the International Space Station and while Meir, 43, was training for a trip back to the orbiting outpost. Kim, 35, is training for his first mission in space.
Rubins, who earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology from UCSD in 1999, is in the middle of his second mission aboard the space station. In 2016, he spent 115 days there and became the first person to sequence DNA in space.
Meir (pronounced Meer) traveled to the space station in September 2019 and became part of the first team of female astronauts to walk in space.
He earned a Ph.D. in marine biology from UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009.
Kim earned a BA in mathematics from the University of San Diego in 2012 and a medical degree from Harvard in 2016. He also served as a Navy SEAL and received the Silver Star.
NASA said Project Artemis astronauts also include: Joe Fin, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Victor Glover, Woody Hoburg, Christina Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, Kate Rubins , Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle, Jessica Watkins, Stephanie Wilson.
The team members were announced by Vice President Mike Pence, who said: "It's amazing to think that the next man and first woman on the Moon are among the names we just read. Team Artemis astronauts are the future of exploration. American spacecraft, and that future is bright. ”
Astronaut Megan McArthur, who earned a Ph.D. in oceanography from UCSD in 2002, is scheduled to fly to the space station in 2021.