The House

'The first humans to set foot on Mars are probably born'

Canadian astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques might not be heading for Mars, but they're on track to go into space. That's after Canada confirmed this this week that it's extending its commitment to the International Space Station until 2024. We discuss the politics of space travel.
Industry Minister James Moore, flanked by Canadian astronauts Jeremy Hansen (left) and David Saint-Jacques (right), announces Canada's commitment to fly two Canadian astronauts to space by 2024 Tuesday. One is expected to fly in 2019, the other in 2024. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Space travel and politics.

The two have always been connected.

Geopolitical rivalries have always been a factor in space exploration. And the ability to reach for the stars has always relied on governments being willing to reach into their pocket.

This week, the federal government confirmed that two Canadians should be able to blast off by 2024.

Astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques join us, as well as Industry Minister James Moore.

Saint-Jacques makes the case for spending tens of millions of dollars on space exploration. ""

"We've isolated this area of public policy in terms of bilateral relationships to keep it beyond politics."  - James Moore, Industry Minister

Then, James Moore explains why, despite Canada's difficulties in dealing with countries such as China and Russia, when it comes to space, things are different. "We've isolated this area of public policy in terms of bilateral relationships to keep it beyond politics," he told The House's Evan Solomon.  

Canada's future in space

That space station funding was first disclosed in the federal budget in April.

Saint-Jacques, 45, who is from Quebec City, and Hansen, 39, of London, Ont. were named as Canada's new astronauts in 2009. Neither has ever left Earth.

One of them is now expected to fly by 2019 and the other by 2024, although who goes first has not been determined.

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NASA astronaut Mike Foreman helps mark 50 years since the U.S.'s first spacewalk 3:59

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