On her first official visit to Nova Scotia as Governor General, Julie Payette included a discussion with local students about her time as an astronaut, hopefully inspiring the youth to reach for the stars.
Trumpets, horns and drums filled the air as a military procession welcomed Payette to Government House in Halifax.
After meeting with the premier, lieutenant-governor and a Mi’kmaq chief, Payette’s next stop was at the Discovery Centre where hundreds of Grade 6 students sat quietly and listened to her speech.
But rather than outline her role as Governor General, which she’s held for less than a year, the focus was on her 20-year career as an astronaut.
From discussing how astronauts keep cool (cold water is pumped through tubes located in their spacesuits), to whether or not you need shoes on the International Space Station (you don’t), to one of its most unique rules.
“If you see something floating by that is edible,” she explained, “your duty is to open your mouth and get it.”
It’s obvious Payette enjoys these talks, even going as far as stating that meeting people like those in the crowd is her favourite part of being Governor General.
And getting the chance to inspire the younger generation to look to the moon and beyond is likely a big reason why.
“So far no one has been on Mars,” she began. “But this will happen in the future and some of you might be working to make that happen.”
Several of the young students said hearing Payette’s speech beefed up their interest in the International Space Station and even gave them a sense of pride knowing a Canadian had been floating high above Earth.
“The space arm was made by Canada and it’s our country,” said Liam. “That’s pretty cool.”
Payette’s trip to Nova Scotia is a two-day venture. She will take part in festivities in Lunenburg and Shearwater before delivering the opening remarks at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Wednesday evening.