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‘I want to go to Mars’: COVID-19 doesn’t ground Calgary teen’s astronaut dreams

Click to play video: '‘I want to go to Mars:’ COVID-19 doesn’t ground Calgary teen’s astronaut dreams' ‘I want to go to Mars:’ COVID-19 doesn’t ground Calgary teen’s astronaut dreams
So many Canadians have had to put their pursuits on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as Gil Tucker shows us, a Calgary teen isn’t letting COVID get in the way of her dream as she reaches for the stars. – May 27, 2021

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.

Read more: Canada’s newest astronauts finish basic training at NASA in Texas

“Before she even started school, she was making things that flew in the air,” Kristina’s mom Gail Keskic said.

Kristina has been pursuing her dream at summer camps at NASA’S Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

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Central Alberta brothers get accepted to NASA’s Space Camp – Feb 23, 2020

“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.

Kristina spent a week at those camps during 2018 and 2019.

Read more: ‘Crazy, wild ride home’: How returning to Earth impacts an astronaut’s body

“(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.

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“It’s going to be virtual, which is still going to be great,” Gail said.

Kristina is trying to earn a spot in space, possibly through studying engineering, but she’s leaning toward pursuing medicine.

Read more: Canadian astronaut’s time in space builds knowledge for Mars: Western University expert

“If I was a doctor, I’d probably be one of the medical officers,” she said.

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China’s Mars rover takes 1st drive on red planet’s surface – May 22, 2021

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.”

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If Kristina eventually does qualify for a spot in the space program, she already has a specific mission in mind.

“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.”

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