Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield with workers from Imperial Sarnia. January 10, 2019. (Photo by Imperial Oil)

Sarnia spaceman challenges workers to ‘do the impossible’

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield told Imperial Sarnia workers that hard work lets you accomplish the impossible.

The Sarnia-native spoke to a crowd of roughly 2,000 at the company’s safety forum held at Progressive Auto Sales Arena Thursday morning.

Hadfield talked about the advancements made in air-travel, and how soon we could be able to fly from Toronto to Australia in under an hour. He talked about the efforts being made by Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to one day inhabit the moon.

Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, said people may think these goals are crazy, but almost everything we’ve ever done looked crazy beforehand.

“We need to push and challenge ourselves. We need to inspire our little ones to do something that we could not do. We need to give them an undeniable opportunity to visualize doing something that is currently impossible,” said the 59-year-old Hadfield.

“The oldest Canadian living, Dolly Gibb, was born in 1905, and the first airplane that flew in our whole country was in 1909. She has seen all of aviation happen in one human lifetime. What was crazy impossible when she was a little girl, now we don’t even think about.”

Hadfield called the moon the next major objective for people, and said that Mars isn’t too far down the line.

“All the agencies of the world are saying maybe now is the time to permanently settle on the moon. We found that over the last six months there are glaciers of water, almost an unlimited amount frozen into the shadow of the craters. If we have water on the moon, then suddenly it becomes much more feasible as place to go and live,” said Hadfield.

“Where are we going next? Well just before Christmas, we landed a probe on Mars that’s going to drill five metres down into the soil to try and determine the temperature on Mars, to try and understand if it’s liquid water just beneath the ground. If so, then there’s probably life on Mars. We can find out if we’re not alone in the universe.”

Hadfield closed by telling the Imperial employees to be prepared for any emergency.

“I wish you all a hugely successful 2019, but it will not go as planned. All sorts of things will go wrong. They’ll happen when you’re least ready for them. The only way that you’re going to safely land your ship at the end is if you get ready for it when things are quiet and you’re willing to step up and resume the responsibility when things actually happen.”

The Sarnia Imperial employees spent a successful 2018 with no time lost due to injury.