Ground Control To Doctor Kroeker

Dr. Erik Kroeker during the second series of aptitude tests. (Photo courtesy of © Canadian Space Agency)

A Chatham native should know Saturday afternoon if he’s made the cut to become Canada’s next astronaut.

Dr. Erik Kroeker is on the shortlist of 17 candidates competing for two spots.

Tecumseh doctor, Adam Sirek, is also on the shortlist.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make the announcement as part of Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa at 1pm.

Kroeker is a lecturer and scientist at the University of Illinois and says if he could pick one place in our solar system to explore, it would be Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

“It has a really small gravity but also has a really dense atmosphere.  As a result, with a little bit of effort, even a human can fly like a bird on the surface of Titan,” says Kroeker.

The search started with 72 candidates who have been tested physically and mentally over several months.

Basic training with NASA is scheduled to take place in August.

Kroeker says flying over Saturn would be awesome.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’d be really excited to walk on the surface of the planet but if I could fly over the surface at the same time, I’ve got pick Titan,” Kroeker says.