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Canada  

New astronauts moonstruck

It's a far-out dream that Canada's 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 don't have the details ironed out but we know that it's 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 we're living in a lifetime now when we see humans, including Canadian humans, potentially going back to the moon and that's just a super exciting thing for me to think about."

Kutryk said he hopes to be one of them.

"That's 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, I'm 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 I'd love that" .. who wouldn't, huh."



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