• Catherine Hansen MD, MPH

We are a spacefaring nation

December 16, 2020 was a historic day for Canada and one I will not soon forget.

"It's worth pointing out here that this will be, I think, the farthest and fastest that any human in the history of our species has ever gone," he said. "And so it's a very big deal to be able to do just that: get a vehicle that far away and then safely recover it back to Earth."

As astronaut Joshua Kutryk describes this mother of all test flights, it may be easy for some to remember that historic day in July 1969 when humans first walked on the surface of the moon; if not the day, the pictures.

Leading up to that step for humankind were a lot of ups and down, wins and losses, lives changed and lives lost. We look back on the 24 men who have been to the moon (12 walked the surface) and think about how much technology has changed since we left that rock in Dec 1972. Visiting the original mission control in Houston and laughing about the monstrous computers and the tube system that sent information from console to console in the 1970’s makes me realize just how long ago that was. When I think back to the computer I used in medical school and the sound it made to print on pinfeed paper, I’m in shock at how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Yesterday’s announcement by Minister Bains and Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell will position Canada as the second country to go to the moon! This will change the focus for Canadian innovation and the downstream effects of the collaborative efforts, science experiments and engineering feats ahead will, without question, change the landscape of our nation and inspire generations to come.

As I awoke today next to my husband, it feels different. Canada has stepped into a new partnership with the U.S., not the first and not the last, but definitely the most significant in my purview. We now participate in a shared vision to take humans off the planet and around another celestial body, one that I often watch in the night sky with awe and wonder.

All Canadian astronauts, scientists, engineers, politicians and self-proclaimed space buffs will participate in this collective mission that will take humans to deep space and, for our family, life just got really exciting!

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