David Saint-Jacques: Hello! This is David Saint-Jacques aboard the International Space Station. I'm going to read you a little story.
Meet the Explorers Club: Niko, Layla, Mathias and Gemma. Oh, and don’t forget their curious puppy, Chewie. He is the most adventurous dog in the universe – or at least in the neighbourhood.
On this day, the five explorers were hanging out in their treehouse. Suddenly, Niko’s parents’ old broken television came to life!
Layla: Layla says: “Check it out! It’s David Saint-Jacques, the Canadian astronaut!
Niko says: “You’re right Layla, and he’s waving from space!”
Mathias: “Whoa. Coooooool!”
David Saint-Jacques: “When I was a young boy, I dreamed about space and flying spaceships. It seemed impossible then, but here I am today. So, dream big and reach for the stars. Dare to explore!"
Mathias, Niko, Layla, Gemma: “DARE TO EXPLORE!”
Without warning, the television went dead.
Mathias: “Hey! What just happened?”
Gemma: “I don’t know,” said Gemma. “Mathias, I’m going to be a space explorer just like David!”
Group: “Us too!” said all the children. Even Chewie!
Chewie: “Arf! Arf!”
So the kids got to work building the spaciest spaceship to ever venture in space.
And of course, a little doggy rocket for Chewie.
Chewie: “Arf! Arf!”
Many many busy busy minutes later, the kids stood back and admired their work – a fantastic-looking doggy spaceship and an even more fantastic one for kids!
OH NO! Chewie accidentally hit a button that BLASTED him off in outer space! RRRRROOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRR
In a flash, Gemma launched the children’s spaceship to chase after their beloved pet.
RRRRROOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRR went the mighty engines!
Niko: “We’re coming for you, Chewie!” Mathias: Mathias said: “Who put in all the rocket fuel in there?!”
Layla: “I don’t know, Mathias,” said Layla. “But we’re moving so fast I can’t even feel my face! ”
Suddenly, everything went quiet. The kids looked back at Earth. It was like a dazzling giant blue marble, shrinking quickly as they sped away.
At least for now, everyone agreed that being in space wasn’t so scary.
Just then, the kids spotted something strange up ahead. A big swirling cosmic whirlpool, dancing and shimmering in space. It was mesmerazing – which is when something is both mesmerizing and amazing.
From inside it, they heard a loud BARK!
Niko: Niko: “Chewie’s in there!”
Layla: “I really don’t know if we should go in, Niko – it’s kind of looking scary.”
Mathias: Mathias said: “But Layla, we still need to find him! Dare to explore, right everyone?!”
Gemma pushed the thruster forward, steered them – WHOOSH – into the twirling hole!
And where they came out on the other side was magical. A place so incredible they had to pinch themselves to make sure they weren’t imagining it. Everywhere they looked, there were so many new and beautiful things to…
…THUMP, THUMP, THUMP! A loud knock on the door!
It was coming from outside. It was a… It was…
Everyone in unison: “A SPACE MONSTER!”
They all found somewhere in the ship to hide.
Gemma poked her head up and took a long, careful look at the creature. She gazed deep into its cosmic eyes and thought she could see… could it be… tears?
Gemma: Gemma said: “Hey everyone! I don't think this is a scary monster. Look!”
Layla : And Layla replied: “She just wants to be friends with us. It’s very lonely out here in space, after all.”
The kids all came out from their hiding spots and gave their new friend a big hug.
The creature gurgled and turned bright orange – she was happy now!
Helping this lonely creature made them a little homesick – but they still needed to find Chewie!
Niko: Niko: “Have you seen a dog come this way?” he asked.
The creature pointed in a direction back towards Earth.
Chewie: “Arf! Arf!”
Mathias: “Hey, we hear you, Chewie! Thank you, not-so-lonely-anymore space creature!”
The crew waved goodbye as Gemma pointed the ship towards the barking sound. Full steam ahead!
The ship went zipping through space.
Mathias: “Wheee ha!”
Layla: “Oh no, our Rocket Booster just broke off! Niko, help!”
Thinking quickly, Niko grabbed a spare pipe cleaner and fixed the spaceship.
Niko: “This will help! But whoa! WATCH OUT FOR THE ASTEROIDS.”
Mathias: “And THAT SATELLITE!”
They expertly navigated through all the dangers like true astronauts. Phew, they made it!
Before long, a very large shadow crossed their path...
Layla: “It’s the International Space Station!”
David Saint-Jacques waved to them from the window. And Chewie was right there with him! He had raced off, wanting to visit David this whole time.
Niko: “This time, you’re staying with us, Chewie!” said Niko.
Chewie climbed into the kids’ ship. And not a moment too soon, as it was long past time to head back to Earth. But as Gemma went to push the throttle forward…
Gemma: “Oh no! We ran out of fuel!”
Mathias: “Hey David, can you give us a push?”
David used Canadarm2 to give them a mighty push!
And they sped towards Earth…
…and through the incredible, colourful northern lights. Everyone was astronished – that’s when an astronaut is astonished.
Finally, the ship’s giant rainbow parachute popped open.
As they drifted gently back towards their treehouse, they all agreed they were quite exhausted from all the adventure.
Layla: “[YAWN!]” yawned Layla. “Let’s all catch a little nap before we land.”
Gemma : “Good idea, Layla,” said Gemma. “Mathias and Niko are already asleep! ”
They curled up in their sleeping bags and drifted peacefully off to sleep…
Chewie, who had also had a cat nap – no, a dog nap – woke everybody up in excitement.
Chewie: “ARF ARF ARF.”
They were back in the treehouse! The five explorers looked up at the night sky, now twinkling with a galaxy of stars. They all had smiles and wonder filling their eyes.
Niko, Layla, Gemma, Mathias: “Thanks, David. Bye bye!”
*Dare to explore!