My Space Oddity of an interview with Chris Hadfield
Zany (and profound) questions blasted at an astronaut legend revealing our next steps to Mars, toilets that suck, and his favourite Star Trek captain.
Q: Why explore space?
A: It’s the natural extension of exploration through history.
Q: What’s scarier – taking off for space, or landing?
A: Neither if you’re ready.
Q: For all three of your space launches, did you have full control of your bodily functions?
A: (Laughs) Yes.
Q: What’s the speed of sound?
A: Depends on the temperature.
Q: What’s the speed of light?
A: 186,000 miles per second
Q: What’s the speed of Commander Hadfield hurtling towards space in a space shuttle?
A: It varies – but at the end, 8 kilometres per second.
Q: What do you know now that you didn’t before space travel?
A: Where the moon came from?
A: Now we know it was torn from the earth on impact from a Mars sized asteroid a long time ago.
Q: Were you ever lonely in space?
A: No more so than on Earth.
Q: Why did you record a [David Bowie’s] Space Oddity in space – isn’t that odd, Major Tom?
A: [Laughs] Because my son asked me to.
Q: What was your favourite tweet?
A: Oh, the exchange with Bill Shatner. That was fun.
A: Yeah, he sent a tweet asking if I was really tweeting from a space station, and I sent back, ‘yes, Commander in orbit captain, and we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.’
Toilets that suck
Q: You took questions in space from kids on Earth, yes?
A: Many times – every week, (laughing) pretty much every day.
Q: Wow, and what question from a child surprised you the most?
A: Well I’ve been answering questions from children for 22 years as an astronaut. That's like asking what question in your life suprised you the most. (laughs)
Q: [reporter feeling inadequate] Ok, well is there a question from children you get asked most?
A: Yeah, how do you use the toilet.
A: I posted it on YouTube – it’s the most common question. I made a video about it in space. The bottom line is, we use airflow and suction in the place of gravity.
A: It’s windy!
Q: A Vancouver Observer reader asks, what are the ‘important and unavoidable signals that the world is sending us?’
A: Um, that we are latecomers and that we are in fact masters of our own destiny.
A: The world’s been here 4.5 billion years. We’ve been here for maybe a couple million. And we’ve had recorded history for about 6,000. We’re latecomers. We’re very self-enamoured (laughs).
Q: How much does it concern you that mankind is altering the earth’s future?
A: It concerns me a lot, but what’s more important is what are we going to do about it?
Q: What do we need to do?
A: That’s a really difficult question – we need to feel a personal sense of responsibility for our own impact, and recognize that we’re all in this together.
Q: What’s your favourite land mass to look at from space?
A: The outback is the most inherently beautiful part of the world as a continent. The Bahamas is the most beautiful small place, I think.