Guest post by David Pollard (The Careers & Enterprise Company)

Pupils from Helston Community College had a special visitor beamed into class recently to talk to them about space. Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield joined the lucky students for a 30 minute Skype interview session. The students from Year 7 to 11 had the opportunity to ask him one question each, with topics ranging from ‘What is it like to sleep in space?’,  to ‘Do you think it will be possible to inhabit Mars one day?’. 

The event was organised by Science teacher Dr James Allen who was lucky enough to meet Chris Hadfield during the filming of the TV programme Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes in which Dr Allen finished in the top four.

Dr James Allen said: “I met Chris Hadfield during filming of the TV show and thought it would be a great idea to try and get him involved in a Q&A with students from school. I emailed some of his people and they managed to arrange it for us, it was an incredible experience for the students.”  

One of the students lucky enough to ask a question during the interview was Toby Allen who was interested to find out what it was like to re-enter the Earth’s Atmosphere. He was surprised to find out that Chris ‘could see flames coming off of the shuttle outside his window’. Toby said: “The interview was a once in a lifetime opportunity, it has really inspired me to become a pilot when I leave school”, which is what Chris was before he became an astronaut.

The second half of the class session included a presentation from Enterprise Adviser, Kat Hickey, who works at Goonhilly Space Station and talked about the growing range of opportunities that students have in the space sector in the county. Kat said: “It was an incredibly aspiring talk from Chris and has been a great opportunity to highlight to Helston School students the opportunities that they could have in the future with some of the large and small organisations that work in the space sector in Cornwall.”

It was a fantastic event and in answer to the questions above, sleeping in space is ‘immensely comfortable with every muscle in the body being relaxed’ and Chris does believe that one day we will inhabit Mars, based on the fact that when he was born people had not even been to space.