Friday, January 25, 2013


Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is currently on the International Space Station. (As of March, he will become Commander of ISS Expedition 35, and the first Canadian to hold the position of Commander.)

In the meantime, he is conducting and participating in experiments and doing all the astronauty, sciency things that get done on the ISS. But he is also doing something really extraordinary. He is, for the first time that I am aware of, using social media to really interact with people on earth from space. He does the standard interviews and PR exercises that astronauts have always done since the Mercury days; but he keeps up a steady stream of brief messages - and even better, photographs, hundreds of photographs - to over 250,000 followers via Twitter, from the account @Cmdr_Hadfield.

I know most of you guys aren't on Twitter, but you don't have to be to look at the messages and photos - of earth from space, of life on the ISS - Hadfield is posting. They're all available for viewing right here. He has sent photographs from so many locations all over the globe  you are sure to find one that speaks to you, whether it's New York City or the Suez Canal or a corner of Australia he compares to a Jackson Pollock painting. Brian will probably like this one. Deserts, and the juxtaposition of deserts and habitations within them, particularly fascinate him.

And he should get some kind of award for this video alone.

He's also a musician and has his guitar with him on the ISS. He's done some recording up there, and is collaborating on a piece with Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies for Music Monday, a project of the Coalition for Music Education.

Who says the Renaissance Man is dead?


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Blogger Brian Fies said...

Commander Hadfield may be the best thing to happen to manned space exploration in a decade. Did you see his Twitter reply to William Shatner? Worth looking up...

That's a great pic of the SF Bay Area. It occurred to me that both my daughters' entire lives are captured in that shot: I can see their apartment (well, where their apartment is), Laura's USS Hornet on the island of Alameda near the top, and Robin's current archaeological dig across the GG Bridge to the left. And today my girls are visiting Treasure Island, which is the big squarish (man-made) island just above center. Me? I'm WAY off to the left, while Sherwood is a little way off to the right. Pretty cool!

1:37 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

Couldn't help myself: got carried away and annotated Hadfield's photo pointing out some of my favorite landmarks. It's here:

No, I had plenty of better things to do, why do you ask?

2:09 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Love it, Brian! What in the world could have been better to do than that?

3:44 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Oh Brian, that is PRICELESS! I love that I now know where both the Giants and the 49ers play. Also the San Andreas fault was a nice touch.

Best of all was knowing how us up here in the "News" are related to SF, you and Sherwood. I agree with Mr. H - no better way you could have spent your time today.

6:46 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

By the way, I did see his reply to Shatner, and loved it, but thought he hit it out of the ball park with his twitter response to Leonard Nimoy, which began "I am not Spock either" and included "LLAP". :)

7:09 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

... but I notice that Brian didn't annotate the home of the A's, Raiders, and Warriors. He's clearly a front-runner.

8:56 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

Who? Are these sporting teams of which you speak?

9:21 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

... and I, of course, didn't mention the Sharks. I feel that a hockey team in a city that never freezes is an abomination.

9:26 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

I am firmly holding my tongue about Sherwood's last comment.

9:59 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Easy to do, since it's probably frozen solid.

10:24 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Okay, here you go.

11:50 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

This is clearly my blog post with the greatest-ever payback. (Tongue may be frozen but fingers still mobile - for the moment. -40C tonight - which you don't have to convert.)

7:56 p.m.  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

Thank you for this! I have wasted much of my weekend happily looking at those incredible photos.

10:40 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Hi Kimberly - welcome!

8:20 p.m.  

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