I’d like to take a moment to congratulate Jessica Meir and Christina Hammock, two of the four women that have recently been named as candidates for NASA astronaut training! Congrats to the other women as well, of course, and to the four men who were also named. But these two women are particularly interesting to me because they’ve both been to Antarctica.

I never met either of them, but Jessica earned a doctorate at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and spent some time on the ice studying penguin physiology, which she later translated to her work as a support scientist studying the effects of life in space on human physiology for the Human Research Facility at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

Christina studied physics and electrical engineering at North Carolina State University and had been both a research assistant and an Electronics and Instrument Tech for NOAA on the ice. She’s currently the Station Chief for the NOAA station in American Samoa.

According to the NASA press release, “The 2013 astronaut candidate class comes from the second largest number of applications NASA ever has received — more than 6,100. The group will receive a wide array of technical training at space centers around the globe to prepare for missions to low-Earth orbit, an asteroid and Mars.”

So keep an eye out for these awesome and adventurous ladies as they begin their training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in August and then head off to the International Space Station and other potentially historic destinations!

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