I am going to come out and say this without a second of hesitation...

...if you choose the career of an astronaut, to me that is the hardest job in the world. Well, first of all, I'll point out the obvious - I don't like heights. Hence that is why I fear getting on an airplane. I can't even start to imagine what it's like mentally and physically preparing to get in a rocket and blast off into space, not to mention I'm extremely claustrophobic as well. What piques my curiosity is what inspires someone to face all the challenges and dangers. Here is a question for you, How many astronauts in NASA history are from either North/South Dakota or Minnesota?

What would you guess? Over ten?

Here is the thing, According to Wikipedia over 600 people have been trained as astronauts. The answer to my earlier question is - that "Eleven NASA astronauts from across the Dakotas and Minnesota have ventured to where few have gone, but many have admired from afar" southernminn.com reported. The woman that's pictured on the cover of this story is Karen Nyberg - she was the 50th woman to launch into space - Nyberg grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes and attended college at the University of North Dakota.

Here are the other Ten astronauts:

James Buchli  -  This North Dakota native was the first to go into space from his state back in 1985.

Robert Cabana  - He actually graduated from Washburn High in 1967

Duane Carey  - was born in St. Paul

Tony England  -  A West Fargo High Grad in 1959

Michael Fossum  - He was born in South Dakota

Dale Gardner  -  Born in Fairmont, Minnesota

Charles Gemar  - He was the First astronaut from South Dakota

Rick Hieb  - Born and raised in Jamestown

George Nelson  - an asterisk here, but who cares  ...George was born in Iowa but considers Willmar, Minn., his hometown

Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper  -This St. Paul native made history as the first woman from the state to go into space in 2006

Lastly, anyone who puts on a space suit and has the courage to do what they do has my deep respect.

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