The Canadian Press
MONTREAL–Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who blasts off for an extended stay on the International Space Station in December, helped launch a moon rock exhibition Friday at the Montreal Science Centre.
Visitors will be able to touch the lunar sample, which is 3.8-billion years old, weighs 24 grams, and only is as big as an eraser.
It wasn’t a coincidence that the exhibition officially was unveiled on the 49th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing by American Apollo 11 astronauts on July 20, 1969.
Saint-Jacques touched the science centre’s latest attention-getter, which was collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
But he admitted to reporters he doesn’t expect he will be going to the moon in the future.
“I think it’s for the next generation of astronauts,” he told reporters Friday. “Not for me.”
But Saint-Jacques said he would like to see the lunar footprints of Canadians.
“Materially and physically, it’s a possibility obviously,” he remarked. “These are political decisions, program decisions, but I think we should. . . .
“It will be an incredible source of inspiration for everyone.”
Saint-Jacques, who launches for the orbiting space laboratory on Dec. 20 on board a Russian Soyuz craft, will celebrate his 49th birthday on the space station on Jan. 6.
But his mission will end before the 50th anniversary of the late Neil Armstrong’s “small step” on the lunar surface.
“The schedule is still open to debate . . . but I’ll be back on Earth,” Saint-Jacques said Friday.