Waterloo woman shortlisted to become next Canadian astronaut

Waterloo's Martha Lenio is one of 72 Canadians in the running to join the national team of astronauts.

Martha Lenio one of 72 shortlisted by the Canadian Space Agency

Martha Lenio is in the running to become one of Canada's astronauts. (Cassandra Klos)

A Waterloo woman is now one step closer to taking a giant leap as Canada's next astronaut.

Martha Lenio is one of 72 Canadians shortlisted in the Canadian Space Agency's recruitment process.

 "I think it would be a really fun job to do," she told CBC News. "I have always been interested in exploration and space travel."

Lenio is a graduate of Waterloo University's engineering program, and is passionate about renewable energy and sustainability.

3,772 applicants from across Canada put their bid in last year to the Canadian Space Agency and that list was cut down after a rigorous screening process.

Lenio is one of 23 women to make it onto the short list, and has been enthusiastic about space exploration her whole life.

"This has been a goal for a long time," she said.

Mission to Mars-ish

But this isn't her first foray into aiming at space travel.

She was a team commander on the 2014 Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS). 

Martha Lenio was team commander during the the 2014 HI-SEAS mission. (Neil Scheibelhut)

She and her crew of four spent eight months living in a dome on the side of a Hawaiian volcano, immersed in a space travel simulation.

The Canadian Space Agency will select two successful candidates from its list.

The new astronauts will relocate in August, to begin basic training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.