10 May 2013

I have a crush on Chris Hadfield. To be more precise, I have a crush on Chris Hadfield’s Twitter account. 

Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut who has been hanging out at the International Space Station for the last five months as the commander on Expedition 35. He’s working on an album of original music while he’s there. He collaborated with Barenaked Ladies’  Ed Robertson for a single that he recorded in space, “Is Somebody Singing” (or I.S.S. as it’s known... see what they did there?). He also tweeted with the cast members of “Star Trek” in one of the zaniest, delightful exchanges to ever happen in the history of social media. Buzz Aldrin even crashed the party.  See it here. 

I don’t even know how I became aware of his tweets, maybe someone else retweeted one, but I became hooked. He’s the coolest astronaut ever, and certainly the most tech-savvy one. He's probably my first astronaut crush since Tony Nelson on "I Dream Of Jeannie."

I recommend following him (@cmdr_hadfield) not only for his funny tweets about what it’s like to “currently live in space” as he says, but for the breathtaking photos he posts of planet earth from his vantage point. They are stunning and filled with a sense of wonder.

If I were a science teacher, I’d make following him mandatory because he makes space so accessible. Plus, he files YouTube videos about how space affects our senses (for example he talked most recently about how his sense of touch has changed in space). 

Today came word that there’s a “steady stream” of ammonia flakes leaking from the orbiting platform’s cooling system. He, of course, is not concerned, even though he called the situation “serious,” but I am. According to the BBC, NASA doesn’t think this is a real issue for worry, but the crew may need to do a spacewalk to fix the site. 

Hadfield is slated to leave the platform on Monday. I don’t know what happens next for him. I’m sure he’ll tweet and let me know, but I owe him such a debt of thanks for turning me into a space geek...as well as hundreds of thousands of other people, especially kids. Even once he’s earthbound again, I’m sure his tweets will continue to be full of delight about this world, especially as he readjusts after being weightless for almost half a year.  God speed in your reentry, Commander!

I couldn’t find a charity that Hadfield endorses, but since he’s Canadian, today’s $10 goes to The Canadian Air & Space Museum, which is desperately in need of funds.  

May 10: The Canadian Air & Space Museum

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