Richard Hughson examines possible links between Hadfield space research and seniors' health in discussion with The Record

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In his 144 days aboard the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield made quite a name for himself.

In leading a nationwide singalong, sharing awe-inspiring images of Earth from a bird's-eye view and recording a gravity-defying rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity, he managed to enchant children and adults alike. In less than five months, the 53-year-old Sarnia, Ont., native became a global social media sensation, accumulating more than 150,000 YouTube subscribers and nearly a million Twitter followers.

But at the heart of Hadfield's mission — on a voyage that saw him orbit the Earth 2,336 times and travel nearly 100 million kilometres — was the pursuit of science.

When he wasn't tweeting or posting videos, Hadfield and his crew conducted more than 130 experiments and devoted the bulk of their time to scientific research, including a record-breaking 71 hours in a single week in January.

And in addition to his work as a scientist, Hadfield himself was a guinea pig for other scientists, the subject of various studies looking at everything from bone density to circadian rhythms.

The man behind the microscope for two of those ongoing studies is University of Waterloo professor Richard Hughson.

See full Lessons from space: UW scientist hopes experiment involving astronaut Chris Hadfield will have health benefits for seniors story in the Waterloo Region Record by