David Saint-Jacques: Hi! I’m David Saint-Jacques. I’m an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency.
In just a few months, I will be launching on a Soyuz rocket for a 6-month mission onboard the International Space Station.
The ISS is an amazing orbiting laboratory! While I’m there, I will be participating in hundreds of science experiments on behalf of researchers from around the world.
The Canadian science I’ll be doing is focused on human health. The ISS is a great place to pursue this kind of research because going to space is bad for your health. The environment up there – being in microgravity, higher levels of radiation, even the isolation –, has a major impact on astronauts.
The ISS is also a closed environment, which can make astronauts more sensitive to air pollutants and other factors.
In order to be able to conduct the science experiments and do their work, we need to make sure that astronauts stay healthy and strong. This will also allow us, one day, to go further out into space… and even eventually to Mars.
On the ISS, we are constantly monitoring the quality of the air, of the water, even of the modules’ surfaces, is analyzed. We look at radiation levels, sound levels… everything that can affect our physical and psychological well-being.
But well-being is not only important in space. It’s also very important on Earth! I have no doubt that teachers like you understand the importance of the healthy learning environment for your students.
During my mission, Let’s Talk Science and the Canadian Space Agency are partnering to invite classrooms all over Canada, from kindergarten to grade 12, to participate in a new educational project. It’s called “Optimal Environmental Conditions for Life”.
This is how it will work: while I’m in space, you will monitor the environment in your classrooms and ask students to investigate how environmental factors influence their mental and physical health.
Your measurements and data will be feed into a national dataset, which you will have access to, so you’ll also be able to compare with data from other locations across Canada, as well as with my data, on the International Space Station!
Your students will also be asked to look for solutions and make changes to their environment, and then, to measure the impact of these changes on their well-being.
If you ask me, it’s a fantastic opportunity for you to be a part of Canada’s next space mission! And, at the same time, you can work on computational thinking skills and be exposed to some coding.
So… Want to do science on Earth while I do science in space? Maybe we can even trade notes!
Check out the Let’s Talk Science website to find out how your classroom can participate.