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LIVE – David Saint-Jacques participates in the unveiling of a new exhibition


Uploaded on February 7, 2019


LIVE – David Saint-Jacques participates in the unveiling of a new exhibition

2019-02-07 - Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques participates in the unveiling of the “Health in Space: Daring to Explore” exhibition, a collaboration between the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the CSA. This exhibition showcases the importance of health science experiments for future long-duration space exploration missions and their potential to improve the lives of people on Earth. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)


Christina Tessier: Good morning. I would like to begin by pointing out that we are here on the ancestral territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation. It gives me great pleasure to welcome to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Peter Schiefke, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth and Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, to Dr. Robert Thirsk, a former Canadian astronaut, and to Mr. Sylvain Laporte, President of the Canadian Space Agency. Welcome to Saint-Rémi School. And good morning to the people who join us online.  

My name is Christina Tessier. I am the President and CEO of Ingenium, Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation. Ingenium administers this museum as well as the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum and the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Our three museums tell the many tales of innovative people who dared to think differently.  

This museum relates the story of the brave Canadians who made our country shine in the fields of aviation and space exploration. As you can imagine, we are very pleased to have a Canadian in space, David Saint-Jacques, who will join us in a few minutes. 

We have a proud history of working in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency, to engage Canadians in our stories of space exploration, science and technology. Here, at the museum, you can visit exhibitions that highlight what it is like to live on the International Space Station, like David Saint-Jacques is right now, as well as explore our country's most notable space achievements, including the Canadarm, Canada's most famous robotic and technological achievement. 

We are together today to unveil an exhibition that highlights a lesser-known aspect of space exploration. This new exhibition focuses on some of the health hazards for astronauts staying in space. It also explains how science on the International Space Station allows us to better understand the human body and to find solutions to disorders that affect, among other things, the heart, the blood vessels or the bone density. 

The exhibition also includes some artifacts and a collection that are really interesting and illustrate how Canada is helping astronauts stay healthy in space. For example, you will see the sled for the space physiology experiment that accompanied Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.  

I also want to take a moment to thank the amazing teams at the Canadian Space Agency and here, from this museum, who worked on this new exhibition. Like the four small stars in David Saint-Jacques' mission patch they are the people behind the scenes that make things happen.  

So, without further ado, please welcome Mr. Peter Schiefke, to officially launch this new exhibition. 

--- (general applause) 

Peter Schiefke: So, good morning everyone. It is a pleasure and an honor for me to be here as Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, but also on behalf of the Prime Minister. I spoke with the Prime Minister and then explained to him what was happening this morning. Then he said: look; you must ask this question to the young people of Saint-Rémi Catholic School. So, the question is: who among you wants to become an astronaut? Raise your hand. Put your hands up if you want to be an astronaut when you're older.  

Okay. So, that's an important question. It is an important question because -- how many of you want to go to Mars or the Moon? Put your hands up? Okay, well -- what is interesting is that there were less hands that went up for becoming astronauts but every one of you wants to go to the Moon or to go to Mars.   

Now, that's a really important question. Why? Because the Prime Minister wants to challenge every one of you to be that next astronaut that is going to go to Mars and go to the Moon. The stats show that we are probably going to go to Mars or back to the Moon within 20 or 30 years, and the people who are going to be those astronauts are sitting in this room right now. They are your age. Which is really exciting.  

So, what have you got to do to become an astronaut? Well, there are two things, one of which I will talk about and one of which I'm going to leave to my esteemed colleague, somebody who I admire greatly, Dr. Robert Thirsk, who is an astronaut, who is going to talk to you a little bit about it. 

First is you've got to get your education. How many of you are getting good grades in school? Put your hands up? Okay. Well, if you want to be an astronaut you have to go to school after high school, for about 10 to 15 years. How many of you think that's fun?  

--- (general laughter) 

All right. Well, you've got to do that, and I encourage you all to stay in school, to get that education. That is what is going to help you become an astronaut. 

The second thing is you need to become healthy. You need to make sure that you are in tip-top shape, because astronauts are in tip-top shape, which is why it is really exciting to be here, to launch this new exhibition on health in space, and what the astronauts, like David Saint-Jacques - that you are going to talk to, which is the coolest thing ever - are going to talk to you about. And to do that, to explain it all to you and to lead us through all of this today, it is an honour and a privilege for me to introduce to you somebody who I admire - I'm not going to lie - an astronaut who holds the record for spending the most amount of time in space as a Canadian astronaut, who flew both with a Soyuz Russian spacecraft as well as the Space Shuttle on the space mission STS-78. I think I got that right.  

Please give a huge round of applause for Dr. Robert Thirsk.  

--- (general applause) 

Robert Thirsk: Wow. Thank you, Mister Schiefke. I am very happy to be with you all today. We are here to talk about two topics, two topics that are very important to me.  

First, space - as you already know, I am an astronaut. And second, health - and I am also a doctor.  

I am looking forward, like all of you, in a few minutes to speak with our friend David Saint-Jacques. David launched to space on December the 3rd and he has now spent two months in space, experiencing the wonder of living and working aboard the International Space Station. What a privilege, what an experience, and it is definitely the highlight of his career.  

Living in space is incredible, but it's not always like a walk in the park for our body. It is even dangerous, because of the weightlessness, the environment and the isolation.  

The nature of weightlessness - ionizing radiation - and psychological isolation need to be better understood, in order to make space flight safer for astronauts of the future, when we venture off to the Moon, to Mars and beyond.  

So, I had the opportunity, as Peter mentioned, to flight twice in space, once aboard the Space Shuttle and then secondly aboard the International Space Station. The first mission lasted 17 days, and the second flight lasted six months. But you know what? It wasn’t long enough. I miss the work that I did. I miss viewing our beautiful planet from the vantage point of orbital flight, and most of all I miss my crew mates. We were an incredible team and we worked very well together. 

But six months of space flight took a toll on my body. In spite of daily exercise I lost aerobic fitness, I lost muscle strength, and my bones began to demineralize as well. My eyes and my vision were affected, and then, after six months, I missed my family, I missed my friends, and I missed nature.  

The good news is that the International Space Station can help us to address some of these issues that I just mentioned. The Station is an incredible medical laboratory. Scientists from around the world, now, for 20 years have been using this unique laboratory to study all sorts of phenomena, all sorts of sciences.  

And I am particularly proud of our Canadian scientists, who have contributed to health research in space, and their research is helping us to better understand the risks to astronauts of space flight and also to help reduce the impact that the space environment has on the human body.  

And as a bonus, a lot of the research, so a lot of the findings from the research of our Canadian scientists can actually help to address some of the healthcare issues here, with patients on Earth as well. 

So, David, who will join us very soon, participates in a large number of experiments aboard the Station. Astronauts are perfect guinea pigs for scientists studying the effects of space on human health. David has also followed a strict routine over the last two months, to make sure he can stay healthy while he is in space. He has been following a diet and an exercise program to help, for instance, this problem of bone loss and muscle degradation, that we spoke about. 

To get an idea of what David is doing aboard the Station, let’s do a little demonstration. I would now like to introduce Natalie Hirsch, a nutrition and exercise specialist for the Canadian Space Agency. 

Natalie was my nutrition and exercise coach before, during and after my last mission, and now she is playing that same role for David. And she will now lead us into some of the exercises that David does to stay fit in space.  


Natalie Hirsch: Well, thank you very much, Bob. 

--- (general applause) 

Natalie Hirsch: I am very happy to be here too, today. I would like to ask all of you to stand up and we can all do an exercise demonstration together. And even those that are joining us through Facebook can -- do this as well. We're going to be standing in place. Just make sure you've got enough room around you, so that you don't hit yourself or your colleagues. That would be bad. 

So, we're going to start from the top. This is going to be a warmup that you can do on the ground or in space. And David will join us a little bit later and give us a little demonstration on some of the uniqueness of space. 

So, first of all, stand up straight and imagine that somebody is pulling you up to the ceiling, so, you've got a good posture. Then, you're going to rotate your hands forward, so that your palms are facing forward, and we will start with some neck stretches. So, just dropping your ear to your shoulder, one side and then the other side. Then, we're going to rotate one side, and then the other side. 

Let's move down to our shoulders, with some shoulder circles. So, just rolling your shoulders backwards, and then we're going to do it forward as well.  

Next, we're going to make this movement even bigger and start doing some arm circles. So, let's go up and around, just watch your neighbours. (laughter) -- I don't want any black eyes. And there is Marie-Andrée that is also helping out, so she will give some

alternative exercises. If there is not enough room around you, you can watch her.  

So, we have been warming up our shoulders, now we're going to warm up our shoulders a bit more, and our brains, by doing arm circles going in opposite directions. So, start with your arms up and then you're going to bring one arm forward and the other arm back, so opposite directions, and up -- great! Wow! You guys are good! Let's do it one more time. And then we're going to try the other way. So, start with the other hand in front, one arm forward, the other arm back, making a big circle.  

Can you feel your brains working, as well as your shoulders? All right. Okay. very good. 

Next, we're going to do some hip exercises. So, this is just like doing a hula hoop. We will do some hip circles, so just go round, circling your hips three times, and other direction -- very good.  

Now, we're going to do some squats. So a squat is just like sitting on a chair. So, just pretend you're going to sit backwards on your chair -- very good. We will do this a few more times, each time go a little bit lower. Bob is an expert in squats. He did squats every day for six months, when he was on the Space Station, to keep his muscles strong.  

I will do one more.  

Next, we're going to do some balance. So balance is not a problem in microgravity but it is a problem when you get back to Earth. So, we're going to stand on one leg. Once you've got your balance and you can pretend that somebody is pulling you up again, then start swinging your legs back and forth -- and this makes it even harder to keep your balance.  

And then, at the end, go into a superman pose. So, this is really easy do to in space. Let's do the other leg, standing on one leg, getting your balance. Once you have that you can -- woo! You can start swinging your leg. And then you're going to go into superman -- into superman. Very good! 

All right. We have time for just one more exercise, as Bob starts getting ready to join David. So, what we're going to do is a full body exercise. Start with your arms up. Now, we're going to bend down, touch our toes, and then drop your hips down. So, now you're back to that squatting position again. Your hands are going to be together, like this, arms up and stand up. We will do that one more time and then we will take a break. So, touching your toes, hips down, hands together, arms up and stand up. 

Wow! You guys are amazing! Very good. (applause) 

--- (general applause)  

Robert Thirsk: You can have a seat now. So, the live connection with David and the Space Station is going to begin in the next couple of minutes. We are looking at, right now, Mission Control, in Houston, and we are looking at the flight director and the CAPCOM, who speak directly with the crew, guide them through their plan, their work plan every day.  

Unidentified female speaker: Station, this is Houston. Are you ready for the event? 

David Saint-Jacques: Houston, this is Station. I am ready. 

Unidentified female speaker: Canadian Space Agency, this is Mission Control, Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.  

Robert Thirsk: Station, this is Ottawa, in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. How do you hear us? 

David Saint-Jacques: Bob! I have you loud and clear. How do you do, my friend? 

Robert Thirsk: Hi, David. It is good to be speaking with you. Several Ottawa students and I were doing an exercise session with our friend Natalie Hirsch. Natalie? 

Natalie Hirsch: Hi, David. It is really great to see you. We have been doing an exercise session and we have two more exercises to do and we are hoping you can join us.  

David Saint-Jacques: Very good, sure. So, you guys have been seeing how strict Coach Natalie is. She is my coach up here, and she keeps me in good shape.  

Natalie Hirsch: So, we're going to do two more exercises. The first one is one where we are going to stretch the front of our legs. So, you're going to take one leg -- yes, everybody can stand up and try this. That's great.  

So, one foot behind, so that your heel is touching your butt, and you should feel a good stretch in the front of your leg, and we're going to wait for David to give us a demo as well. Good job, David! (laughter)  

--- (general laughter) 

Natalie Hirsch: Okay. And we can switch legs and -- (laughter)  

--- (general laughter) 

Natalie Hirsch: As you can see, it is much easier in space. (laughter)

Okay. We will do one more exercise, and this one is a figure 4. So, for all of us on the ground, we're going to cross one ankle over our other knee, to make a figure 4 with our legs, and then we're going to sit backwards, like we're sitting in a chair again. This is another good balance exercise.  

All right. It looks so much easier in space, doesn’t it? (laughter)  

Wow! Okay, and let's do it with the other leg. (laughter)  

--- (general laughter) 

Natalie Hirsch: All right. Great job, everyone! Thanks, David, for the demo.  

Robert Thirsk: Thanks, Natalie. Thanks, David, for the out of this world exercise demo. (laughter)  

--- (general laughter)  

Robert Thirsk: David, I don't want to interrupt your Zen moment but we have a couple of questions for you. What are some of the exercises that you have been doing in space, to counter the effects of weightlessness?

David Saint-Jacques: So, basically, our exercise regime here is comprised of four things, I guess. Stretching, of course, which is very important - you got a good demonstration of this today. It is a bit different than on Earth but we do it. It is very important.

And then we want to keep our cardiovascular system strong. We have a stationary bicycle that is very similar to being on Earth, except you don't have a seat. You don't need to sit down, of course.  

And another one is a treadmill, so you can practice running. That is important for two things; first, because we wear a harness with strong springs, to kind of bring us down, it adds weight to our spine, our skeletal system, our bones, and keeps them strong. And also, it keeps you practicing the movement you need to be walking and running, so that when you come back to Earth you remember how to walk.  

And third, we have a general purpose kind of weight-lifting machine. Of course, it is not weights, because that would be very easy, right? With dumbbells, in space. Instead we are fighting against the pressure in a piston, and that is what we use to keep training our upper body, shoulders, arms, the legs, the calves, every muscle in our body we can work out with this amazing machine called an ARED. And thanks to that we come back to Earth... I don't know what your experience was, Bob, but I am hoping to come back to Earth feeling that I'm not weakened by this stay in space.  

Robert Thirsk: Good question. Do you find that your body, after two months in space now, has adapted? Has your mind, your muscles, your heart, has it adapted to life in zero G? 

David Saint-Jacques: Completely, quite a change. When I got here it was actually very funny, because as soon as I was upside down I was lost. I didn't know where to go. And I was a very bad flyer initially, like most astronauts for the first time, crashing into the walls everywhere, as I moved around. Now, I can navigate very quickly. I know where I am. I never break anything.  

And also, I find that -- I started out very congested. You know, when you're standing on the Earth, the pull of gravity brings your -- most of your blood down and your body is trained to push harder, to bring blood to your head. When you reach space you don't have that bias anymore, if you want, the effect of gravity. And so -- but the body keeps pushing harder towards the head, so you get a big, red puffy head and tiny white kind of skinny legs. And -- but after a while that fades away and you become normal again. So, even the congestion is gone.  

So, yes, after two months I feel like this is normal, now, like there's nothing to it.  

Robert Thirsk: You know, we've talked about weightlessness, the effect of weightlessness on the muscles, on the bones, but it is not the only factor that affects your health in orbit. Ionizing radiation is another concern. I know that on Earth the atmosphere protects us against radiation, but have you experienced radiation in space? Have you done any monitoring of radiation levels? 

David Saint-Jacques: So, yes, we are not protected here, by the -- by our atmosphere, as you said. We are a little bit protected by the magnetic field of the Earth still but it is quite a bit less. Every astronaut -- we wear a little radiation monitor on us the whole time. It just looks like -- I don't know. It looks like a little square plastic, like this, that we wear on us, that measures radiation.  

But the effect of radiation, it is very interesting. I wish you had seen that too. At night, when your eyes are closed, sometimes you can see cosmic radiation hitting the back of your eye, the retina, and it makes a flash, and in the middle of the night you see flashes. Maybe every couple of minutes you will see a flash like that. That is radiation hitting your eyes. 

Another thing that we think of is when there's -- sometimes radiation goes up and down with the -- depending on the activity of the Sun. And so that may be a reason to be more careful and maybe spend more time in areas of the Station that are better protected.  

These are our little bedrooms, that have slightly thicker walls, to protect us from radiation.  

Robert Thirsk: I understand that Canadian scientists are interested in radiation dissymmetry, radiation monitoring, and that a couple of weeks ago you deployed some Canadian monitors throughout the Station. Could you tell us a little bit about that experiment? 

David Saint-Jacques: Yes. It is a very neat experiment using an old-fashioned technology that is very, very reliable, and they modernized it. It is called a bubble detector. So, the little ampullas of a substance that when it gets hit by radiation it creates a little gas bubble and it stays trapped into that jelly-like substance. And then, with a microscope you can count the bubbles and that tells you how many radiation hits there were. So, these so-called bubble dissymetres, we spread them around the Station and recently, my Russian colleague, Oleg, used the special equipment to count all of these bubbles, and we're looking forward to hearing the results.  

Robert Thirsk: Here, at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum we are looking at the impact of weightlessness and radiation on human health in space, but we are also looking at psychological isolation as well. Are there any health concerns of living in space in such a remote location, on your mind, on your well-being?  

David Saint-Jacques: Yes, you're right. You should never forget about that, and maybe at the end of the day the most important aspect of maintaining humans in exploration environment, not just through here but also people who are on submarines or long-distance -- you know, deployments.  

So, the problem you develop here is that everything is a little bit the same every day. It can be depressing sometimes, if you are not careful. You are very, very far away from the people you love on Earth and that can make you sad, perhaps. You are always with the same people on board, so if conflict arises it can be -- you have nowhere to go. You have to face it.  

So, it is a challenge. We prepare a lot for this, as astronauts, and I'm sure Bob, you have stories to tell about that as well, but we go on expeditions on Earth with fellow astronauts, for long durations, before, to get used to this notion that -- you know, the most important people right now are the few people who are here with me, and I must get along with them, and that is the key to our success, because we can't function well, of course, if we are not happy, and you cannot be happy if you are not getting along with people around you. 

Robert Thirsk: Thank you, David, for this great discussion. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.  

David, there's a room full of curious students and also media, here, at the Museum. Would you like to hear from them? We have many questions for you. 

David Saint-Jacques: Go ahead. I always like to answer questions.  

Unidentified male speaker: Hello, David, what is the possible application of the results obtained by your research on the aging of the population, the related issues, such as bone density, hardening of the arteries?  

David Saint-Jacques: Yes, so the reason why it is so interesting to do medical research in orbit is because being in space, basically, is not good for your health. It's full of -- we've been on Earth for millions of years, with the effect of gravity. When you take that away, almost every system in the human body is unbalanced. Bones weaken. Muscles weaken. We lose our sense of direction. Memory is affected too. There is the immune system -- effects on the immune system. And overall, it looks like some sort of accelerated aging, which we undergo, partly reversible when we come back.  

But what is interesting is that all the effects we feel, the astronauts on board, all the health problems we develop, it is almost equivalent to the diseases we have on Earth - very, very similar. So, by studying the problems that astronauts develop, which develop very quickly in younger and healthier people, we can, in a very isolated, very specific manner, study the similar disease, and it somewhat makes us ideal guinea pigs for medical research. 

Unidentified male speaker: Thank you very much.  

Gavin: Hi, David. My name is Gavin and I would like to ask you a question. When you're sick in space, how does your body react? 

David Saint-Jacques: Yes, Gavin. So, there are differences in space, when you are sick. For example, of course, if you hit yourself, if you bleed, the blood will not want to fall. It will stay there. So, it's more --  

So, how do we treat diseases here? We have a small medicine cabinet. Everyone is trained on board. I am a doctor, but not all astronauts are doctors. But those who are not are all trained to be able to respond to medical emergencies. So, we are all in good hands. We have what it takes to respond to major heart problems, fractures, to make -- antibiotics. So, we are pretty well equipped.  

But the most important thing, of course, is to be careful. Be careful not to get sick. We are cautious not to get infections. We are in quarantine before coming into orbit. We are very careful here on board, not to hurt ourselves. That's it, if we want --  

Of course, the most important thing to stay healthy is to be careful and respect your body, respect your limits.  

Audrey: Hi, David. My name is Audrey and I too would like to ask you a question. Do you sometimes have conflicts between astronauts in space? 

David Saint-Jacques: Very good question, Audrey, very important. Yes, of course, as soon as human beings -- and there are relationships, there are conflicts, that's for sure. We are a little bit, we astronauts, on mission like this, we are a little like brothers and sisters who live together. So, even if we love each other a lot and we respect each other a lot, and we like to be together and work together, sometimes there are conflicts. Sometimes there are quarrels. So, we talk about it. The important thing is to talk about it, find common ground and settle it, and get back on track. 

So, conflicts are part of life. It’s normal. They must not be avoided. We must accept them, face them, find a solution. So, it's a very important part of our life on board, always making sure there are no hidden or secret conflicts, and talking about everything very clearly.  

Chloé: Hi, David. My name is Chloe and here is the question I'm going to ask you: What is most demanding or difficult for you in space? And do you feel lonely? 

David Saint-Jacques: Yes, Chloé. So, you know, for me, the most difficult thing is that I have a family. I’m a dad. I have three kids, and I miss them a lot. So, that's the hardest thing. I wish I could invite the people I love to come and see me. I wish my family could come here, that my friends could come here. Here we can not. 

So that's the hardest part of it, feeling very, very far from the people we love, very far from our life on Earth. But we can talk to them, so I talk to them a lot. We make videos a lot, and then we can -- I can -- so we keep contact -- even if we are not in direct contact we can keep an emotional contact anyway, and that's what is the most important.  

Lauren: Hi, David. My name is Lauren and what is cosmic radiation and what does it do to your body? 

David Saint-Jacques: So, cosmic radiation is small elementary particles, like electrons or protons, that come from very, very far, that come from the very bottom of the universe. Others come directly from the Sun, and which normally are -- we are protected on Earth, the atmosphere, the magnetic field belt and then the atmosphere stop most of these radiations, and we are protected.  

Here, in space, we are less protected. We just have the walls of our Space Station to protect us. They are not very thick. And when these radiations hit our bodies they can make changes to our DNA, to our genetic code, and often, changes to the genetic code do not matter, the body can fix it, or if it's a part of our genetic code that is not very important, it does not change anything. But sometimes, if you're not lucky, that's how a cancer can start. So that's the biggest risk, perhaps, related to radiation. It can make genetic changes that can one day lead to cancer. So that's why we're very careful about radiation here.  

Samuel: Hi, David. My name is Samuel, and my question is: How do you move or orient yourself aboard the Space Station? 

David Saint-Jacques: So, moving around is very different from on Earth. We are a bit like monkeys in the trees. We only move around using our hands, like that, by grabbing the handles, and with our feet, sometimes, we carry objects. So if I have something to bring I'll take it with my feet, then I move like that, with my hands. 

And to orient myself, well, it's not very big, the Station, so now I know it by heart. So, I'm moving around like this. The important thing is to be able to recognize where you are, even if you are on the side, even if you are upside down. That's the hardest thing at the beginning, you get very disoriented when you change direction. But after a few months it's easy for me. 

Alissa: Hi, David. My name is Alissa and here is my question: When back on Earth what will be the most difficult for you? For example, will you have difficulty walking or running? Will it be harder to eat or digest?  

David Saint-Jacques: So when we come back to Earth, yes, there are physical effects that are quite difficult. I have been warned. First, gravity means that our blood tends to fall in our legs when we return to Earth. That means we can faint very easily, because we don’t have enough blood in the head -- ou!!! It's like when you get up too fast.  

So, at first it can take about a few days, a few weeks before you always have enough pressure in your head to avoid fainting.  

After that, well, there is balance. Here, in space, I lost my sense of balance, because it is useless, so my body has forgotten -- my brain has forgotten how balance works, and when I go back to Earth, I'll have to hold the hand of a friend to walk for a few days, because I will fall easily or maybe even feel sick if I move my head too fast. 

That's two big differences, balance and pressure problems in the head.  

Then, well, if -- now I do a lot of exercises, thanks to my coach, Natalie, so I still manage to stay strong, but it's very important because if we do nothing in space, if we do not do any sport, we will become very weak, because here, everything is very light and even a very heavy object weighs nothing, here, so our body, our muscles and our bones will weaken if we do nothing. So that's important if you want to stay strong, to exercise. 

Elizabeth Howell: Hi, David, Elizabeth Howell from, probably just like me you grew up watching Star Trek. What medical technology on the Space Station is even cooler than what was portrayed in the future, on Star Trek? Thanks. 

David Saint-Jacques: Hey, Elizabeth. Nice speaking to you. Well, actually, as far as medical equipment goes, the Station, we are pretty conservative, I would say. We -- you know, there is very high-tech medical technology on the ground and that is what we use here.  

There's a -- sometimes, because we don't have all the equipment we need we scratch our heads and we invent new methods on Station that then are used on the ground. For example, a couple of years ago people started to think: Hm; we don't have an x-ray machine, here, in space. How could we figure out if someone has a hole in their lungs if they have a big blow to the chest, without an x-ray machine?  

And so, we figured out a way in space, using an ultrasound machine - because that's all we had. But now, that's what we do on Earth, to look for punctured lungs, we use an ultrasound machine. So, that's one example of an idea developed in space that we can use on the ground.  

Another cool technology is a shirt that we wear, that measures our heartbeat, our body temperature, our blood pressure, and that shirt is a prototype that I have, made by a Canadian company, that I have tried recently, and so we hope that will become a very common product. It would be very useful for people who are deployed, in the military, for example, or people who are -- elderly people who are stuck at home and have difficulty going to the hospital. They could have their health checked remotely, things like that. 

Anena Vagela: Hi, David. I am Anena Vagela from the Ottawa Citizen. I was just wondering: What is the hardest thing to describe about being in space? 

David Saint-Jacques: Ah; good question. You know, I think it is that view out of the window. The unbelievable beauty of planet Earth, it is so touching. Every time I open those shutters on the cupola, our viewing -- our observation platform, and I see this beautiful planet, it is just quietly spinning in the black velvet of space, with this kind of bright blue halo surrounding it. That's the air that protects us from space and that harbours all the life. And the pattern of clouds and thunder, it's just alive. You can see that it's almost breathing. It's so beautiful. It's -- it has changed my perspective on life, to have seen that.  

Robert Thirsk: Thank you, David. That's all the time, unfortunately, that we have with you today. Thank you everyone for your very thoughtful questions for David.  

David, thank you for connecting with us. You are a great ambassador for Canada. Stay safe and stay healthy. Good bye.  

--- (general applause) 

David Saint-Jacques: Thank you.


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