Astronaut wows children with Q&A session from space

AFP, MONTREAL, Canada

Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - Page 7

The Canadian commander of the International Space Station (ISS) delighted schoolchildren in a live question-and-answer session conducted from space on Friday.

Chris Hadfield, who became the first Canadian to take command of the ISS on Wednesday, thrilled his young audience as he floated around during the grilling before signing off with a somersault.

The Q&A was moderated by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and was broadcast live on television.

VANTAGE POINT

Hadfield reflected on a range of questions, including the occasional fears he encounters in space, as well as the awe he feels observing Canada from his vantage point more than 330km above Earth.

“It is a great way, every time, to wait for Canada, to come around the world again, it just warms my heart, every time, to see the potential of our country and to see the way that we live there together,” Hadfield said.

However, the most striking country visible from space is the Bahamas, Hadfield said.

‘INCREDIBLE’

“Because of the coral reefs, the colors are absolutely incredible, all the different blues, the different hues of blue, like a rainbow under the water,” he said. “It is absolutely incredible to see it. It is beautiful.”

Harper wrapped up the session by paying tribute to Hadfield’s pioneering spirit.

“You represent the kind of spirit we had in the explorers who found our country and built our country and you are carrying that into a modern age,” Harper said. “We are proud of you and we wish you good luck and success.”