Star Stamford 8-year-old designs winning patch in NASA contest

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STAMFORD -

An 8-year-old Stamford boy's design will blast off into space because he won a NASA competition.

As Alexander Barker's bedroom shows, he is crazy about anything that has to do with space. In fact, he says his first word was "moon."

"What I like about space is that not too many people know about it, and I'm very curious about what is out there," he says.

So when heard about a contest where he could design a patch for astronauts to wear when they travel to the International Space Station in March, he says he was very excited.

NASA took submissions from 11,000 schools before narrowing its selection down to 500, of which Alexander was a part. Then he won the whole thing.

"It was a very big day how Alexander described it, one of the best days of his life," says his mother, Katia Barker. "Of ours, too."

He says he has all the patches that NASA previously made and also has a collection of astronauts' autographs. His goal is to grow up and become one.

"I want to be part of the Mars mission in 2036," he says. That's of course if he doesn't change his mind and become an engineer or professional hockey player.

But he says he definitely wants to help his little brother, Christopher. who is living with Louis Bar Syndrome, an incurable disease.

"If I had any wish right now, it would be for somebody to find a cure," he says.

The illness is a rare neurodegenerative disease that weakens the immune system and increases the risk of cancer.

Alexander and his father will run a race next year to raise money to find a cure for the disease. A dream Alexander says he hopes will take his family much further than a trip to Mars.

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