A local astronaut has the chance to be the first Canadian on the Moon.
Joshua Kutryk is one of four Canadian astronauts who have the chance to be on the Atermis II mission in May 2024.
Kutryk was born in Fort Saskatchewan where he attended St. John XXIII Catholic School before moving to Cold Lake to work with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Back in 2017, he was chosen out of 3,772 applicants as one of the newest members of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). He graduated from the basic astronaut training course three years later in 2020.
While personnel for Artemis II have yet to be announced, the four-person crew includes one Canadian astronaut, with Kutryk in the riding amongst three other candidates.
"This mission will be the first time humans have gone back to the Moon since Apollo," he said. "It's going to be the first time anyone other than an American citizen has left low Earth orbit and gone to deep space, and we now know that that person is going to be a Canadian.”
The goal of Artemis II is to perform a lunar flyby test and return to Earth. The last time a crewed spacecraft went to the moon was in 1972.
In preparation, Kutryk has been training rigorously, as space travel takes a toll on the human body.
"It's like aging in fast-forward," he explained. "Your bones lose their structure and their mass, you lose muscle mass, there are neurological effects, there are heart effects, there's really the full gambit."
The other astronauts in the running are Jeremy Hansen, David Saint-Jacques, and Jenni Sidey-Gibbons. Saint-Jacques was the last Canadian on board the International Space Station.
Kutryk is the CSA's 13th astronaut.
The crew for the mission is expected to be announced on April 3.