WATCH — Everything you want to know about being an astronaut

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-04-27 06:27

Jenni Sidey-Gibbons is one of Canada’s newest astronauts

How do you become an astronaut?

And once you’re in, how long before you can travel in space?

These are some questions that Jenni Sidey-Gibbons can answer.

She’s one of Canada’s newest astronauts and graduated from her basic training in January.

But before she got there, Sidey-Gibbons was part of a difficult recruitment program, where she was put to the test physically and mentally.

A woman runs in a gym.

Jenni Sidey-Gibbons takes part in an exercise during the CSA recruitment program in 2017. (Éric Carrière/CSA)

Since becoming an astronaut, she’s been getting ready to fly in space.

But one of the most difficult things she does every day?

“I try and learn Russian,” Sidey-Gibbons told some students during a video conference from Houston, Texas, in November 2019.

That’s because some of the astronauts on the international space station are Russian.

Find out more about training to become an astronaut by watching this video:

Sidey-Gibbons also answered questions about life in space.

“You can even watch movies,” she said. “I’ve heard people watch a lot of Star Wars in space.”

One question she wasn’t able to immediately answer was whether you can vote in space, so she texted her friend, an astronaut who was in space recently, to find out more.

Want to know what he said? Check out this video about life in space:

And finally, some of the hardest questions were about other forms of life in space.

“I find it hard … just to imagine that there’s nothing else out there,” she said.

But what might those forms of life look like?

“I’m really not sure that anything exists the way movies portray something like an alien,” she said.

It could look more like “some microbe in a cave.”

Want to know more about life beyond Earth? Check out this video:

Are you interested in space exploration?

Canadian kids from Grade 6-9 can take part in the Junior Astronaut program by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

There are activities online, a chance to have an astronaut visit your school and some kids will have the opportunity to go to space camp at the CSA headquarters in Quebec.

The deadline to apply for the program has been extended until April 30.

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