When it comes to the future, 15-year-old Calgarian Kristina Keskic has big dreams.
“I want to be a doctor, but a lot of people have been doctors and not a lot of people are going to go to space,” Keskic said.
The Grade 9 student is laying the groundwork for soaring into space, something she’s been working on for quite a while.
“Before she even started school, she was making things that flew in the air,” Kristina’s mom Gail Keskic said.
“She saw Curious George on TV and he went to space. She loved that.”
Kristina has been pursuing her dream at summer camps at NASA’S Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“It was a lot of mission simulators and things that real astronauts would’ve gone on,” she said.
“A lunar gravity chair… It simulated what lunar gravity would’ve been like.
“It’s one-sixth of Earth’s gravity, so you bounce a lot.”
Kristina spent a week at those camps during 2018 and 2019.
“(She was) booked to go in 2020,” Gail said, “but COVID happened and we had to cancel.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic still causing complications, Kristina has landed a spot this summer closer to home, at the junior astronauts camp with the Canadian Space Agency.
“It’s going to be virtual, which is still going to be great,” Gail said.
“She’s getting to meet astronauts, engineers and scientists.”
Kristina is trying to earn a spot in space, possibly through studying engineering, but she’s leaning toward pursuing medicine.
“If I was a doctor, I’d probably be one of the medical officers,” she said.
Members of the Keskic family are proud of the work Kristina is putting in as part of trying to become an astronaut.
“Just saying, ‘I want to be an astronaut’ is one thing, but to have a plan is fantastic,” her mom said. “She just has that hunger to learn.”
If Kristina eventually does qualify for a spot in the space program, she already has a specific mission in mind.
“I want to go to Mars.
“I’m at the right age that I actually have a chance of that,” she said. “If I get it, that’s great, so I’m going to work towards it, but if it doesn’t (work out) then I’ll probably still have fun being a doctor.”