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Memories from space: Roberta Bondar marks 25th anniversary of Discovery shuttle mission

Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut, reflects on how the Discovery space shuttle mission 25 years ago changed her life.

Canada’s first female astronaut remembers her time with Canadian Space Agency

Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut, spent eight days orbiting Earth aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1992. (Andy Hincenberges/CBC)

It's been 25 years since Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut, launched into space aboard the shuttle Discovery.

After blasting off on Jan. 22, 1992, Bondar spent eight days orbiting Earth as a member of Mission STS-42.

She was the first neurologist to travel to space and conducted experiments in the shuttle's Spacelab module as part of her mission.

Since her time in space, Bondar served as NASA's head of space medicine and started her own charitable foundation. She is also an accomplished photographer.

On the 25th anniversary of her time on Discovery, Bondar reflected on how that mission changed her life in an interview with the CBC's Peter Mansbridge.

Big risk for big reward

As a young astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency, Bondar saw first-hand how exciting spaceflight could be. In 1984, she watched her colleague at the time, Marc Garneau, become the first Canadian in space aboard the shuttle Challenger.

But just two years later, while she was in training, she witnessed the disaster that took the lives of seven people aboard that same vehicle. The loss of the Challenger changed everything for Bondar — from her training to her outlook on space exploration.

Challenger accident changes training 0:46

Missions to Mars

The huge push in recent years to travel to and colonize Mars is an exciting thought for any astronaut.

But Bondar says that we don't know enough about long-term space travel or how it might affect the human body. She thinks getting back to the moon and setting up labs there would be a helpful start.

Bondar sees need for more training 0:36

Memories of space

Bondar says she thinks about her time in space every day and that the experience still affects her life.

But some of her most meaningful memories come from when she flew over Canada. Bondar says she remembers "feeling a little bit melancholy" after losing the view over Newfoundland and Labrador because she knew she was "leaving Canada behind."

View from orbit 'just totally amazing' 0:43

See more from Roberta Bondar's interview with Peter Mansbridge tonight on The National. Click here to see the full interview.