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Caribou Native Shoots for the Stars as New Astronaut Graduate

Lauren Harnett
Courtesy NASA
Caribou native Jessica Meir undergoes wilderness training in the Rangeley area in 2013.
Credit Courtesy NASA
Caribou native Jessica Meir is among graduates of NASA's 21st astronaut class.

NASA may have stopped running space shuttles, but that doesn't mean it's not busy out there. There are six astronauts at the International Space Station, and in the world of unmanned exploration, the Curiosity Rover has been sending pictures back from Mars for three years, and those photos have 2 million followers on Twitter.

And NASA is starting to explore the idea of, one day, sending astronauts to Mars. So who will these intrepid space explorers be?

Well, at least one might be from the northern tip of Maine. Jessica Meir grew up in Caribou, and knew she wanted to be an astronaut from a very young age.  Just last month, Meer completed a rigorous and diverse two-year astronaut candidate program.  

She told Maine Things Considered host Nora Flaherty that it included everything from learning to fly jets and practice space walks in a boyancy pool to learning Russian.  Her training even brought her to familiar territory.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.