University Of Arizona Grad A Candidate For Canadian Astronaut Corps

By Sara Hammond
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 9:15am
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 10:58am
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(Photo courtesy of Canadian Space Agency)
Michelle Thompson
(Photo courtesy of Canadian Space Agency)
Astronaut candidate Michelle Thompson swims during the aptitude tests.

A scientist educated in Arizona hopes she has the right stuff to be selected to join Canada’s astronaut corps.

Michelle Thompson earned her doctorate in planetary science at the University of Arizona studying how materials weather on the surface of airless bodies such as the moon and asteroids. She’s now a fellow at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston working with lunar samples returned to Earth by Apollo astronauts.

Thompson is one of 70 candidates the Canadian Space Agency is evaluating for its next two astronauts. She said she wants to enable science from space.

“I directly benefited from the scientific work that astronauts did. They went to the moon, they picked up samples, they brought them back and I studied them," Thompson said.

Thompson said she was inspired by those explorers and she wants to do the same by visiting another planetary body in person.

“I could do science anywhere they send me in space," said Thompson.

Canada is expected to announce its new astronauts this summer.

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