PSU professor finalist for out of this world job with Canadian S - KPTV - FOX 12

PSU professor finalist for out of this world job with Canadian Space Agency

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Professor Evan Thomas currently runs a research lab at Portland State University, but he could soon be blasting off as an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency (KPTV) Professor Evan Thomas currently runs a research lab at Portland State University, but he could soon be blasting off as an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A Portland State University professor is a lot closer to realizing a childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

Professor Evan Thomas is one of 17 finalists from an original pool of 4,000 candidates vying for one of two spots as an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency.

Thomas, 33, is no stranger to a science lab, but as he looks to the future, he hopes to conduct experiments at a much higher elevation.

"I've always wanted to be an astronaut like a lot of kids,” he said. “The difference is those of us that are still in the running never gave up on that dream."

For the past 10 months, the PSU engineering professor underwent rigorous physical and mental tests alongside other candidates in Canada, all designed to determine who has the right skills and character to become the CSA's next astronauts.

"We never know what's coming next, and we have to work together as a team to advance that objective,” Thomas said. “What they seem to be evaluating is, of course, can you complete the task but also can you work in a team, can you not hesitate?"

Before coming to Portland State, Thomas worked as an aerospace engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to gain experience.

That experience has paid off, as the 4,000 candidates were whittled down to 17, with Thomas among them.

He says his students have had mixed reaction to the news.

"I think most of my students are pretty excited about this, some of them because they are excited for me, some of them because I might not be here,” Thomas said.

As for the competition, he says his fellow candidates are more like teammates than competitors now.

"There's 17 of us, and we're kind of hoping they just change their mind and hire all of us," he said.

If Thomas is selected, he'll move to Houston to undergo two years of training before going to space.

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