Retired astronaut tells history of Canada

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield took Vernon on a tour through the history of Canada with song and slideshow.

Celebrating Canada’s 150th, Hadfield visited the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre as part of his Canada 150 tour, Sunday, May 14.

“I think 150 years is a good time to start thinking if we want to decide what we want to do in the future, we really have to understand how we got to where we are,” he said to a nearly full house.

Hadfield started from the very beginning, covering how the earliest Canadians travelled to Canada through the popular theory that they made their way across the Beringia, a prehistoric land bridge from Russia, before moving into his personal life experiences such as his family’s arrival in Canada.

The only thing we have going for us is brains,” he said, tying human curiosity into the drive to continuously move forward and achieve greater things through building new and better inventions.

In between songs about space and Canadian Tire, he took questions from the audience.

One person asked “what happens when a meteor hits the spaceship?”

Hadfield answered the astronauts quarantine themselves off if a hole is formed, locking themselves in the centre of the ship in hopes that the leak is in the outlying area.

One Vernon local came dressed in an astronaut’s uniform for Hadfield’s show.

Catherine Greenough, 12, enjoys sciences and mathematics, travelling to NASA for the first time when she was only six months old.

“I’ve always liked the idea of different worlds and people who we don’t know about, and that there might be other life forms in space. Also my mom got me into a lot of science fiction stuff and my dad,” she said.

Her mother, Leanne Mallory took her to NASA for her research trip, working with David McKay on Project Constellation, a moon-based program which was cancelled. She also works on meteorites and teaches at Okanagan College.

Greenough knows Hadfield because of his music.

“Some of the stuff he says is funny. I like how he’s talking about certain stuff. I always liked science so this is kind of interesting.”

Hadfield ended the show with a cover of David Bowie’s Space Odyssey, which he recorded in space and played live for the audience on his guitar. Bowie, near the end of his life, had always wanted to visit space and was grateful Hadfield was able to do the song justice.

“I am an immensely proud Canadian,” said Hafield.