Skip to main content

A Minnesota native could be among the next NASA astronauts to go to the moon.

Dr. Anil Menon, 45, who was born and raised in Minneapolis, is among the 10 people who've been picked for NASA's new astronaut candidate class, marking the first such group in four years.

He and the other members of his class were picked from a field of more than 12,000 applicants. NASA administrator Bill Nelson introduced the new astronaut class on Monday.

The would-be astronauts report for duty at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in January 2022 to begin two years of training on things like operating and maintaining the International Space Station, training on spacewalks, developing robotics skills, operating a training jet and Russian language skills.

When they're done with training, they could be assigned to missions that involve research aboard the space station or be sent on deep space missions to the moon, among other assignments. 

“We’ve made many giant leaps throughout the last 60 years, fulfilling President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon,” said Johnson center Director Vanessa Wyche. “Today we reach further into the stars as we push forward to the Moon once again and on to Mars with NASA’s newest astronaut candidate class.”

According to NASA, Menon is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and a practicing emergency medicine doctor with fellowship training in wilderness and aerospace medicine. 

He graduated from St. Paul Academy in St. Paul in 1995 and went on to get his bachelor's degree in neurobiology at Harvard University in 1999. He then got a master's in mechanical engineering and a doctor of medicine from Stanford University, among other degrees. He has board certification in aerospace medicine and emergency medicine.

Menon is no stranger to space flights. He was SpaceX's first flight surgeon on the company's first flight with humans to space. And before that, he served NASA as the crew flight surgeon on various expeditions that took astronauts to the space station, including spending time in Russia. 

In addition to helping with missions to space, he responded as an emergency doctor to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. 

The addition of the 10 members of the 2021 astronaut candidate class brings the total number of astronauts NASA has selected since 1959 to 360. This year's class was the first year NASA required candidates to have a master's degree in a STEM field.

You can read more about Menon and the other nine astronaut candidates here

Next Up

walz flanagan lorie shaull flickr

Gov. proposes 'Walz Checks' for most Minnesotans

The governor wants to use $700 million of the state's surplus to fund the payments.

Hutch crash booking photo

Walz, Flanagan call on Hennepin Co. sheriff to resign

"I would say that it is time for him to resign," the Lt. Gov. said.

line 3 enbridge portage lake hubbard county mn tony webster flickr

Months after missing deadline, Enbridge says Line 3 aquifer breach is fixed

The company told Bring Me The News it "successfully stopped the flow of groundwater" at the site.

canada bodies found

Baby, teenager among 4 found dead along MN, Canada border

Authorities believe all four froze to death.

unsplash roller rink skates CROP

Former roller rink, tennis courts will become new sports hub

The Wooddale Fun Zone has been closed since spring of 2020.

hibachi daruma

Popular hibachi food truck opens second Twin Cities restaurant

The much-anticipated Daruma opens for takeout Thursday evening.

20211128_Vikings_49ers_REG12_0144 (1)

What changes are coming to the Vikings' offensive line?

Once again, Minnesota has work to do to figure out its interior spots

Kris Ehresmann

One of Minnesota's key COVID-19 leaders is retiring

Kris Ehresmann has given more than 30 years of her life to public health in Minnesota.

summit beach park orono

Plan to develop Orono park on hold after Daytons object

The Dayton family donated the land to the city for the park in the 1970s.

covid nurse doctor hospital wikimedia commons

Child from Twin Cities, school staff member die from COVID

Both deaths were reported by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.

snow

3 clippers will deliver snow to Minnesota through Tuesday

Clippers move through Friday night, Saturday night and again Monday.

Related

Mark Vande Hei

MN astronaut forced to shelter on space station after Russia blows up satellite

The crew was forced to shelter as the ISS passed through a debris field caused by Russia blowing up a satellite.

the wolf house

This is the most 'wish-listed' Airbnb in Minnesota

The Wolf House's walls are covered in painted murals and rocks.

Screen Shot 2019-09-20 at 4.48.04 PM

NASA's Boeing 747-mounted telescope makes a stop at MSP

It drew quite a crowd to the MSP viewing area.

midwest rail

Twin Cities plays key role in new Midwest rail plan

The 40-year plan would mean 24 trips daily between the Twin Cities and Chicago.

Astronaut, Nobel Prize winners in town to inspire young innovators

They'll speak to thousands of students and researchers.