After just two weeks in space, it appears that rookie Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques feels comfortable in microgravity. On December 18, he read a new ebook in space while "launching" to the international space station ceiling, dodging publishing asteroids and creating creative rocket sounds and excitement screams along the way.
The father of three small children is strongly emphasized in the new Canadian space bureau called "The Explorers Club." Saint-Jacques did the reading in French, but the book is also available in English. Both English and French versions are free on the CSA's website. The book is also available for the iOS App Store and Google Play. You can check this out.
The reading, whose earthly component hosted the CSA headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec (near Montreal), attracted 125 students from Saint-Jacques former elementary school, the Montreal area of Des Saints-Anges School. CSA also sends the event via live stream. [Canada Celebrates Launch of First Astronaut in 6 Years]
The picture book follows the Explorers Clubs fictional adventures consisting of the children Niko, Layla, Mathias and Gemma and their dog Chewie, "the most adventurous dog in the universe – or at least in his neighborhood."
The club decides to build a rocket ship to visit Saint-Jacques in the room after he suddenly looks at what the kids thought was a broken TV. In the book, Saint-Jacques inspires the children with a short speech that ends with their mission motto, "Dare to Explore."
The children's "largest spacecraft to ever visit space" encounters many fun adventures along the way, including seeing the International Space Station, the Canadarm2 robot and the Northern Lights (one of Canada's research priorities, a northern country).
Part of greater reading skills
Saint-Jacques and his wife, Veronique Morin, read at night to their three young children when he was on the ground. Because Saint-Jacques wanted to continue the tradition in space, CSA took the opportunity to create an event where more children could participate.
The book is aimed at 4 to 8 years and spans a group that includes children who are "losers" (children who do not know how to read but can have the book told them) and children who can read. To ensure that the text was aging, CSA collaborated with a Vancouver company called Pug Pharm, who has experience in reading children's products, CSA officials say.
Uploads to the space station can sometimes be a bit slow, so Saint-Jacques had a paper-based version of the book (with key images) just if the app on his iPad didn't work, CSA spokesman Annie Belanger, who is part of the rioting team awarded to Saint-Jacques mission, Space.com told.
This event is just a network of activities that Saint-Jacques participates in to create love for literacy and science for children. He attended Canada's Science Literacy Week last September. The beginning of October started a "Wanted: Creative Writers" competition aimed at all Canadians aged 9 and divided into three age groups (9-12 years, 12-15 years and 16 years). The deadline is December 31, and you can get more details on this link. Saint-Jacques can read some of the posts from the room.
CSA also offers opportunities to make science with Saint-Jacques. For the Little Inventors initiative, children created possible science trials for space; The competition closed on 21 December. Children can also participate in an ongoing collaboration with nonprofit Let's Science Science to measure environmental conditions in a room or other joint project with the European Space Agency and the Kids Code Jeunesse to develop Astro Pi programs for space station computers.
And there are many more activities to come, including a children's game and an opportunity to measure radiation (as the kids did before during Chris Hadfield's mission in 2012-13). A complete list of mission activities, past, present and future is available on this CSA website.
A unique moment
Saint-Jacques is the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Hadfield. He arrived at the circulation complex on December 3 together with the rest of the 58-crew expedition – NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.
Belanger said the agency is using a Canadian in space to promote science among schoolchildren while interest is high. The effect is already significant; The Talk Science initiative alone will touch 1,000 classrooms, she said. [Best Kids’ Space Books for the Holidays]
"It really shows how a space mission can inspire students to learn more about space and STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] generally, "she said.
While Saint-Jacques was presented in a more public relations-heavy event today, one of its orbit projects will participate in nine Canadian experiments ranging from science research to technological demonstrations. You can read more about these experiments in this Space.com article; According to the CSA Twitter feed, Saint-Jacques has already done work for the Vection and MARROW experiments.
These Canadian studies are just a handful of the more than 200 experiments that a typical space station possesses in addition to maintenance and other space station operations.
The Canadian e-book is the latest in several children's books that have made it to the space station. In recent years, a non-profit organization called "Story Time for Space" has sent several print books for children to the circulating complex read by astronauts. You can read about some of their previous books on this article in 2015.
Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com.