NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Connected to space
Arviat teen takes part in project linked to space station

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February has been one spacedout time for Ethan Tassiuk as he enjoys being Arviat's scientific version of bubble boy.

NNSL photo/graphic

Ethan Tassiuk of Arviat gives a close-up view of the bubble detector he's using to measure hits of neutron bubbles as part of the RADIN2 And You Action Project. - photo courtesy of Gord Billard

The Grade 9 student at John Arnalukjuak High School is taking part in an experiment being conducted with the help of astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station.

Tassiuk, 14, has joined students from schools across Canada to participate in the RADIN2 And You Action Project.

The project has youth measuring and comparing neutron radiation levels along with Hadfield, who is aboard the space station.

The CurioCity program is provided by Let's Talk Science in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency to engage Canadian classrooms with a handson opportunity to learn about science and space.

The pair partnered with Bubble Technology Industries, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and the MDA and 3M corporations to purchase and supply personal neutron radiation detectors to participating classrooms.

Nunavut Arctic College's Jamie Bell has been watching Tassiuk work on the RADIN2 and said the young student has taken a strong interest in the project.

He said Tassiuk is the only student participating from Nunavut, the NWT and Yukon.

"The entire Canadian Arctic has only one community, Arviat, and that's pretty cool," said Bell.

"Ethan started collecting data this past week, did his first data upload and learned how to measure radiation levels in milirems."

Bell said having everyone collecting data at about the same time will allow them to better compare their readings.

He said the project is a winwin situation for everyone involved.

"By involving so many students and schools across Canada, scientists can get a better picture to learn more about how neutron radiation affects us here on Earth, as well as in space.

"This is critical to ensuring future human space missions are safe, whether it's in orbit aboard the ISS, or on longer missions to the moon or planets like Mars."

Tassiuk said he really enjoys science and that it's been awesome being part of such a cool project.

"I enjoy science because I like to learn about astronomy and space," said Tassiuk.

"Jamie (Bell) told me about this when I was looking for a good idea - hopefully about space - for my science fair project.

"I got interested in this because it was connected to the space station.

"I liked that Chris Hadfield was involved, too, because I like astronauts."

Tassiuk said he's been interested in science since he was about seven years old.

He said he might consider making some aspect of science his career choice.

"It would be a lot of hard work, but I'm prepared to do it," he said.

"I've been doing the project myself and I enjoy doing it because I'm measuring radiation and I care about people.

"I haven't told many people about it, but I think I'm going to start talking about it more now."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.