I have been following Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s journey in space for some time now, and on May 13th, he stepped down from his command of the International Space Station. He has been on the artificial satellite since December 2012, when he arrived as part of Expedition 35, a six-person crew.

It has been fantastic to follow along his experiences as he has frequently posted updates. Technology gets a lot of flak for its ups and downs, but being able to learn so much about his orbit around Earth, literally as he was doing it, was
phenomenal.

He has given us beautiful personal pictures of the full moon over Earth, and held “Ask Me Anything” threads on Reddit. He has a Twitter account, a Tumblr account, he’s on Facebook and even uploads videos to his YouTube account. His videos address all kinds of questions, from technical to personal. One of my favorites was when he gave a video demonstration of what exactly happens when you wring out a washcloth in space — the answer to a question I never knew I wanted to ask!

As Hadfield steps down from his position and hands it over to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, I want to celebrate the good fortune of watching an astronaut cover his journey through the power of social networking. His constant enthusiasm at being in space encapsulates every little kid’s dreams of growing up to do the same thing.

With recent cutbacks in Canadian funding of space programs, he probably won’t go back anytime soon, but he has made the most of it. He produced a cover version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” with a breathtaking video of him in the space station.

Bowie’s eerie lyrics and the gorgeous, surreal shots of Earth through the windows of the station make for an incredible and unique watching experience.

8 Comments

  1. Wonderful article, Emily! I appreciate your celebration. I loved watching the washcloth demonstration, too, and I was surprised by the result! What a great and smart and talented man!

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    1. He really was the perfect candidate to lead an expedition like this. I only wish he could have done it even longer… although ~5 months is no small feat!

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    1. Thanks! I agree. I think he’s a great reminder of how far we’ve come, and of how much good we can do with it. “The first music video in space”.isn’t a phrase I ever expected to hear in reality.

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      1. every so often you find gems – he is a real diamond – sharing and teaching and bringing us the real wonder of the universe. They could not have picked a better person.

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    1. You’re very welcome. I’ve shown basically everyone I know, and whether they’re science buffs or not, they all have the same reaction!

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