Canada’s newest astronauts consider moon, Mars missions after space station trip – Toronto Star

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:34 pm

By Peter RakobowchukThe Canadian Press

Tues., Aug. 22, 2017

MONTREALIts a far-out dream that Canadas two newest astronauts are hoping will come true: orbiting the moon within the next decade or so.

In fact, Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey are already looking beyond the International Space Station as they begin two years of intense basic training.

In an interview from Houston on Tuesday, Kutryk pointed out that Canada is committed to the space station until 2024 along with its international partners.

But the 35-year-old Albertan said the plan for what will happen after is already starting to be defined.

We dont have the details ironed out but we know that its going to involve new destinations, probably the moon and then Mars, said Kutryk, adding he expects Canada to seek out and play a large role.

I think that were living in a lifetime now when we see humans, including Canadian humans, potentially going back to the moon and thats just a super exciting thing for me to think about.

Thats to be determined but I do feel a lot of excitement for the Canadian space program in general, he said.

Sidey, who will be training alongside Kutryk, said travelling around the moon, in so-called cislunar orbit, is on her agenda.

Certainly, Im definitely in for the idea of deep space (and) longer space flights, kind of pushing what we can do, she said.

Cislunar for us is going to be incredibly important as a gateway to put people in orbit and eventually go back to the moon.

The 29-year-old Calgary-born astronaut was asked about her chances of orbiting the moon in the coming decades.

Her response was: Who knows, who knows, but Id love that... who wouldnt, huh.

But the focus over the next two years will be on understanding various things, including systems on the space station, human behaviour, robotics and survival training.

They will also learn Russian.

Were going to be juggling all sorts of subjects and theyre all very different and theyre all very important (and) keeping all those balls in the air at once is going to be tough, Sidey said.

Kutryk, a test pilot, admitted that learning Russian will be a tough test, noting it took him about 25 years to be comfortable in French.

Based on that experience, and when I look at the idea of learning a third language in two years, thats something thats definitely going to be challenging, he said.

On Tuesday, Kutryk and Sidey also joined a dozen American trainees in a link-up with three astronauts now on board the International Space Station.

Flight engineer Peggy Whitson, 57, who is on her third long-duration space station mission, had some advice for the group: know how to fix things.

You need to get good at using tools, Whitson said as she floated inside the space station. Thatll be an important part of your training, so pay attention to that part of it.

So you cant be hesitant about taking something apart and putting it back together, because thats a lot of our job.

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Canada's newest astronauts consider moon, Mars missions after space station trip - Toronto Star

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