Dr. Robert Thirsk speaks to media from the International Space Station

Live Q&A via downlink to the Ontario Science Centre

TORONTO, Oct. 29 /CNW/ - Five months into the longest mission in space for a Canadian astronaut, Dr. Robert Thirsk spoke to members of the media via live downlink from the International Space Station (ISS). Dr. Thirsk will have completed a six-month stay aboard the ISS when he returns to Earth in December.

The Ontario Science Centre is excited to have had this opportunity to invite media to communicate with Dr. Thirsk during his mission. The Science Centre's popular space-related experiences - such as planetarium presentations, the Challenger Learning Center, the Space Hall and free star parties - demonstrate that Canadians are interested in exploring the universe.

During this mission, Dr. Thirsk is conducting seven experiments on behalf of Canadian and international researchers. One of the experiments is led by University of Waterloo researcher Dr. Richard Hughson and is sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency. The CCISS experiment (for Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Control on Return from the International Space Station) is the first to try to look fully at how astronauts' bodies cope with microgravity in space.

"This experiment examines what happens to the cardiovascular system when astronauts spend an extended time in a state of weightlessness," said Dr. Hooley McLaughlin, Director of Visitor Experience. "What is especially timely for us here at the Science Centre is that BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart opened just over two weeks ago, and it also examines the function of the heart and circulatory system, giving visitors a profound insight into their own bodies."

This downlink is one of many memorable events of the Science Centre's 40th anniversary year. After four decades, the Ontario Science Centre continues to spark curiosity and interest, encouraging young people to take on careers in the field of science and to advance technology for the future.

    About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989, the CSA coordinates all civil space-related policies and programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. The CSA directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: earth observation, space science and exploration, satellite communications, and space awareness and learning. By leveraging international cooperation, the CSA generates world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.

    About the Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre opened on September 26, 1969, pioneering the concept of an interactive science museum. Since then, well over 40 million visitors have passed through its doors. It is a model for over 1,000 science centres around the world that have been built since its inception.

The Ontario Science Centre uses science as the lens to inspire and actively engage people in new ways of seeing, understanding and thinking about themselves and the world around them. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario. Please visit us at www.ontariosciencecentre.ca

SOURCE Ontario Science Centre

For further information: For further information: Christine Crosbie, Media Relations Officer, Ontario Science Centre, (416) 696-3191, christine.crosbie@osc.on.ca; Media Relations, Canadian Space Agency, (450) 926-4370, Julie.simard@asc-csa.gc.ca

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