Saturday, 1 August 2015

EXCLUSIVE Interview With Jr Astronaut Mackenzie

''I'm a 15 year old aspiring to be the first female astronaut to step foot on the moon.'' - @JrAstronaut

If you're a friend of mine or if you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know by now that I have an obsession with space and the moon and have for many years. Although it's been my non secret, non existent, non realistic dream to someday work for NASA and become an astronaut I had the opportunity to chat to an incredible fifteen year old girl who's doing just that and is on her way to becoming the first woman to land on the moon... I know, what were you doing at fifteen eh??

Jr Astronaut Mackenzie is online fifteen but this has been her dream since she was thirteen years of age 'wanted to be an astronaut first when I was 13. I saw a video of Chris Hadfield demonstrating how to wring out water on the ISS. My love for space grew from there.' It's not just the idea of space which leads Mackenzie on it's the fact she truly believes space makes her want to become a better person ''Space in general inspires me to be a better person. Astronauts are amazing people who are very successful. I like to hold high goals, and I can't think of a goal that is much harder than becoming an astronaut.'' 

Whenever I see astronauts tweeting pictures from the ISS (international space station) I can do nothing but stare at them in awe for minutes, looking down on earth from space must be something incredible and it's the same with Mackenzie as she dreams about the views she may potentially see from space, ''I love weightlessness first of all. I mean, who doesn't? Other than that, the view would be incredible. I can only imagine how awesome it would be to look back at the earth''

For many people, including myself they don't know what the real job of an astronaut really entails but from Mackenzie's explanation I've learned that the idea I had of astronauts in my head is completely different than reality ''The job of an astronaut is thought of very differently than it actually is. Astronauts are not guaranteed to ever go to space, although almost all of them do. Most of them retire having only gone up 2-3 times. 
The last time we went to the moon was in 1972. Also, the space shuttle was retired in 2011. The only way that people are going to space right now is via the Soyuz. Three people are selected from many different countries go up every 6 months. So, as you can see, astronauts aren't just buzzing around space all the time.They do have a "regular" job at Johnson Space Centre, working at a desk or helping with astronaut training.''

Like I mentioned before at only fifteen years old Mackenzie is way ahead of her years and is moving up the ladder each and every day ''I am in Civil Air Patrol, and I am starting full-time college this fall'' College is very important and once she gains her bachelor degree the focus can turn to space training ''I will pursue my bachelor's degree, and then work on higher degrees as I see fit. I'll also get a job in an aviation or space related field. Then I can apply for astronaut training.''
The selection is a very hard intense programme with thousands applying and only a select few get chosen to continue ''Selection is extremely stringent. Around 7,000 apply and 8 get selected. There are a lot of different interviews and tests that go into their decision'' As well as that ''Most astronauts get selected around age 35. Astronaut training lasts for 2 years.''

Mackenzie dreams of someday becoming the very first woman to set foot on the moon, something in which I believe she may one day be, but the reason why this is her dream is very simple and that's that 'We haven't been to the moon recently, and it seems like the first logical step past LEO (low earth orbit).''
For me as a lover of all things space related I'd love to go to the moon, but something I would be terrified of as a human Mackenzie shares the same fears but does believe that it will be worth it, ''Of course there are dangers, and it may be stressful at times. I'm human like anyone else. I have the same fears as other do. I believe that it will be worth it, however.''

Nasa are forever making progress by discovering new planets which not only benefit science and technology but our own curiosity ''We make a lot of technological advances from space travel that help the earth. Besides that, it really fulfils our natural-born curiosity'' but when it comes to something I've spoken about before the 'Mars One Mission' ( which is a potential one way trip to Mars) but has mixed reactions from people across the world ''The Orion capsule is NASA's current plan for deep space travel in the future. No one really knows for sure whether or not we can make it to Mars. We shall see!'' 

With a dream as high as the sky Mackenzie's goal can come across 'strange' to some people but like anyone who has doubters she urges herself to be surrounded with people who support her, ''most people take me seriously. I surround myself with people who believe in me and want me to succeed. There are people out there that don't believe in you, but don't let them bring you down''

Well I for one believe that one day we'll see Mackenzie in the books for being the first woman to walk on the moon and I wish her all the best in the world.
Huge thanks to this inspirational young lady for taking her time out to chat with me!!