"I used to live there"
October 26, 2013 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Astronaut Chris Hadfield (previously) reflects on his career, life on the International Space Station, and the challenges of returning home (as well as commercial spaceflight and the film Gravity) in an interview with the Guardian.
posted by figurant (23 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Also here is a larger version of the space pug photo.
posted by elizardbits at 10:10 AM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Space Pug is ready to hurdle through the cosmos.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on October 26, 2013

Astronaut diets are getting specific.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on October 26, 2013

For once, I glance at the comments, and for once it was worth it: "Chris Hadfield makes me proud to be a human being."

Hear, hear.
posted by Sequence at 11:14 AM on October 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

One of his favourite experiments on board came at the suggestion of the Japanese space agency: trying out the Japanese art form of expressing the reflection of the moon in water

Anyone know what this is called?
posted by nevercalm at 11:18 AM on October 26, 2013

Ah, found it: Suigetsukan
posted by nevercalm at 11:20 AM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Every single thing that you learn really just gives you more comfort. It's something I counsel kids all the time: if someone is willing to teach you something for free, take them up on it. Do it. Every single time. All it does is make you more likely to be able to succeed. And it's kind of a nice way to go through life."

Nice - I like relating knowledge to comfort. I had not thought of it that way before and it's a very different frame than relating it to power.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:21 AM on October 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Man. I'd managed, over the years, to pretty much come to terms with the idea that I personally will never go to space. I've stayed fascinated by it, but I'm also fascinated by the idea of piloting a jet, or performing at Carnegie Hall. Fun to think about, but at some point in your adulthood you realize it's not gonna happen. Hadfield talks about the struggles of astronauts to readjust to daily life after having been to space...no mention ever gets made of the struggles of shlubs like us who have to adjust to the idea of being permanently earthbound for our entire lives with the awareness that there's no possibility of us ever getting to space in the first place.

Now I read this interview and find out Hadfield is the same age as me, and the realization that maybe - just maybe - I could have done that after all just about breaks my heart. Having been recently blown away by the stunning visuals of Gravity on a big screen doesn't help either.

"I just sat there floating, trying to soak up the experience. Alone in the universe, with that view." Aw, man...*sigh*
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:24 AM on October 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

That is a really fun interview, thanks for posting it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:39 AM on October 26, 2013

I met Hadfield earlier this week. He spoke at an event I helped to organize. He is just as decent and gracious in real life as he comes across in this interview. Great singing voice, even at 8 o'clock in the morning.

What I found most gratifying about the event was how the crowd was so completed enamoured with him. It was great to see that people are still optimistic about, and interested in, real space travel.
posted by bowline at 11:47 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's a lot to be said for Neil Armstrong's reticence.
posted by fairmettle at 12:46 PM on October 26, 2013

The thing about not going back hits home; while I've never done anything quite as cool as living on the ISS I have written elsewhere about doing things most people only dream about and which I'll probably not be able to do again, and I think Hadfield's perspective is about the only way to stay sane in such a situation. The fact of past peak experiences does not make the anticipation of future peak experiences less worthwhile, even if there are no peaks quite so high to anticipate. There could, after all, be surprises. Hadfield may find his newfound celebrity to be more involving and durable than the experience of living on the ISS. I was certainly surprised to find my teeth and my mostly forgotten trunk novel becoming much more popular than the story of my friend who made a million dollars counting cards.
posted by localroger at 1:09 PM on October 26, 2013

Chris Hadfield was never on Corner Gas. He has to live with that.
posted by srboisvert at 1:13 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

NASA needs their own Chris Hadfield. This is the kind of publicity NASA needs right now to show people that even the more routine things in space are cool and complicated. The US space program needs to be more of a budget priority, not less, and having people be aware of how amazing a job they do is important.
posted by azpenguin at 1:18 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

His existence washes away some of my cynicism. What a tremendous human being.
posted by rtha at 1:45 PM on October 26, 2013

An excerpt from Hadfield's new book .
posted by get off of my cloud at 2:37 PM on October 26, 2013

I feel better about the world every time I read anything about this guy. And now he's written a memoir! A book that I really want to read, mentioned in a current news story, and there are only TEN people ahead of me in the reserve list at the library! That's some kind of miracle right there.
posted by vytae at 3:32 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wonderful interview. Hadfield's quite a guy.

Would someone smarter about such things want to explain the second clause of this sentence to me:

He has piloted a Soyuz rocket, which has a four-second response window between system failure and death.
posted by bryon at 7:47 PM on October 26, 2013

no mention ever gets made of the struggles of shlubs like us who have to adjust to the idea of being permanently earthbound for our entire lives with the awareness that there's no possibility of us ever getting to space in the first place.

There are so many things that us schlubs have to adjust to the idea of being permanently stuck with not doing our entire lives, because there's no possibility of us ever being able to practically do it. I feel ya, dude.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:26 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

NASA needs their own Chris Hadfield.

Well, a) don't think that him being Canadian was something that mattered to his boatload of followers, and b) I don't know that you can make a Chris Hadfield deliberately, and c) it may actually be the case that the NASA culture tends to discourage this type -- yet d) they still do pretty well, considering.

As to b) specifically, having followed his career over the years maybe more than most MeFites (and having supplied a joke to him, at least allegedly via intermediary, via USENET), I think he's a rare case. Many people are genial in real life without having social media skills, and Hadfield seems a natural at both. Many people, as he pointed out, are smart without having that special kind of everyman salesmanship. Still, NASA sends its astronauts out into the world, they do publicity, and they get mobbed even if they're not Chris Hadfield because $SPACE -- though maybe not as passionately.

a four-second response window between system failure and death.

It's hard to say for sure, but this is probably referring to the 1971 depressurization incident where three cosmonauts died when a valve failed, releasing all the air in the module in (by some accounts) a mere four seconds (others point to indications that the cosmonauts desperately tried, in the space of less than a minute, to find the source of the leak -- checking the hatch, turning off the radio to pinpoint the noise, and pulling away the commander's seat -- but then lost consciousness). But presumably that was fixed, and in any case they now use pressurized spacesuits in the descent phase. There are other risk factors such as the re-entry profile envelope and the final burn for a soft landing, but that did fail recently and the returning crew got a little bumped up.
posted by dhartung at 12:43 AM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

He's written a book - here's the video blurb made by his son.
posted by islander at 6:37 PM on October 29, 2013

Chris Hadfield ejected from movie theatre for loudly heckling Gravity
Eventually, theatre staff was notified, and the Canadian living legend was loudly removed from the cinema. Witnesses report that he did not go quietly. One patron recalled, “The last thing I heard him yelling was, ‘Have you been to space? Because I’ve been to space!’”
Written by Ian MacIntyre for The Beaverton
posted by filthy light thief at 8:31 PM on October 30, 2013

« Older The most famous book from each state in the US   |   SHUB SHUB SHUB Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments