I first put this post up at Scientific American on May 12, 2013
Colonel Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut, a former mission specialist on STS-74 who also performed multiple EVAs on STS-100, and, for a few hours longer, the well-loved commander of the International Space Station mission 35.
He has been a great inspiration for space travel via every type of social media (with the assistance of his son, Evan), giving those of us down on Earth some of the best peeks at what it is like to live and work in space, plus has entertained us with his guitar playing as well! He tweets constantly, sharing photos of his view from above and has made nearly 70 informative videos to quench our curiosity about day to day space living. He has captured our imagination for space travel again!
Update!! In the time since posting this video on the evening of May 12, coinciding with the publication of this blog post, Commander Hadfield’s inspirational music video has reached over 10 million views (as of May 15), making it the most viewed video he has produced, securing it a place and number one on this Top 10 (+1) list! Bonus: Released today was a revised version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station. Not enough views at this posting to make the Top 10, but so well done that it certainly belongs here!
Now the Top 10!
10. How Astronauts Shave in Space. If I were in space, I might take a break from shaving my legs, but, for men, I don’t think it would be fitting in NASA protocol to let a beard grow for the duration. How do you shave in space, with no running water and trying to avoid hairs floating around and clogging up the equipment? Let’s see what Cmdr. Hadfield has to say:
9. How do Astronauts Wash Their Hands in Space? Again, with no running water, this is tricky. That big ball of water floating around in his hands is just mesmerizing!
8. How is Eyesight Affected in Space? Space travel worsens your vision, and the astronauts and specialists are monitoring various aspects of eye physiology and anatomy to learn why this is. My vision is bad enough already, I’ll skip space travel!
7. Commander Hadfield’s Space Kitchen. Peanut butter plus honey on a (nearly) everlasting tortilla = space sandwich! Tortillas replace bread which can leave crumbs everywhere!
6. Commander Hadfield Brushes His Teeth in Space. Again, no running water means no rinsing your mouth, so you swallow your toothpaste instead. As Hadfield says, “It’s edible, it won’t kill you.”
5. Nail Clipping in Space. It is important to have short fingernails for playing guitar! And since nail clippings would float around, getting in equipment and could accidentally be breathed in by the crew (ewww), clippings are instead pulled into a vent that is drawing in air.
4. Sleeping In Space. How do you keep from floating around while in dreamland? You will be glad to learn you don’t need a pillow or mattress for a good night’s sleep in zero gravity!
3. Tears in Space (Don’t Fall). Not an actor by his own admission, Cmdr. Hadfield can’t cry on demand, but comes up with a way to show us how tears act in space.
2. Mixed Nuts in Space. No explanation needed, just enjoy the sight of nuts floating in their can. I hope they are deliciously salted!
1. By far the most popular video was Wringing out Water on the ISS-For Science!. Without gravity, surface tension wins!
Thank you, Commander Hadfield, for using social media to its fullest to share with all of us the wonders of working in space. I will miss your tweets and videos!