He was very inspirational: the children of Saskatoon talk to astronauts aboard the International Space Station


You could feel the excitement on the other side of the room.

Dozens of primary school children packed the Saskatchewan University Summon Room on Thursday morning to talk to Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Speaking about a live broadcast by Mission Control in Houston, Texas, Saint-Jacques answered students' questions that covered everything from explaining how to take off on a rocket to sleeping in space without bumping into the room.

"A rocket ride is an unbelievable moment," said Saint-Jacques. "They light the engines, and this thing comes to life, and it's as if two giant hands were carrying you into space."

Saint-Jacques flew to the ISS in December. While on board the station, the doctor and astrophysicist conduct experiments and test new technologies.

A student is waiting his turn to speak with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques. (David Shield / CBC)

Needless to say, the kids in the room were quite impressed.

"It was a very fascinating experience," said Louis Pascal, a sixth grader. "He was very inspiring."

The event was hosted by retired astronaut Dr. Saskatoon, Dr. Dave Williams. He said events like these are important to fostering the love of space exploration in children.

"The next generation of Canadian astronauts is somewhere," he said. "They may be seven years old, they may be ten years old, they may be in college and dream of becoming an astronaut."

The question-and-answer session was hosted by former astronaut Dr. Dave Williams. (David Shield / CBC)

Williams was on the panel of the Canadian Space Agency that selected Saint-Jacques. He said children should never give up on their dreams.

"Go ahead," he said. "Be resilient. Do not let others define your dream. Hold on to your passion."

The kick-off event kicked off this year's Spectrum at the University of Saskatchewan. Every year, university students use the event to showcase research in science and engineering.

This year, Spectrum features demonstrations from the university's space design team as well as the Saskatoon Combat Robotics Club.

Spectrum goes until Sunday.


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