We know that William Shatner is a fun interview subject; turns out he's not a bad interviewer either. Yesterday, when he called up Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who is spending five months aboard the ISS, he went right to the tough questions: Did NASA lose its way after the end of the Space Shuttle? How do you deal with the fear? Are you really going to go to Mars? (That sounds terrifying!) Isn't six months a long time to be away? Do you feel at one with the universe?
Hadfield, being the well-trained astronaut that he is (and test pilot, mechanical engineer, and French and Russian speaker) keeps it intelligent, professional, cool. He shrugs off fear of space ("I basically lost one good friend a year for the whole time I was a high-performance test pilot... with the level of technology we have right now, it removes a lot of the sense of remoteness to it."), cracks jokes, and even ends on a warm, down-to-Earth invitation, with a Boston Legal reference: "At the end of the show, where you sit out on the veranda and, over a cigar and a whiskey, talk of life? You oughta come to my cottage and sit on the porch." Hadfield will become the first Canadian commander of Space Station in March. He'll be tweeting the whole time (see below), and will get back to his porch whiskey in May, by way of a $56-million rented seat on a Russian Soyuz spaceship.
The incredibly green lush wetness of the Amazon basin. twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/…— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) February 6, 2013
The Taranaki Volcano looks too perfect to be real. twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/…— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) February 7, 2013
Tonight's finale: Floating in a sleeping bag, tethered to a wall in my pod. Note the armholes and the fresh air vent. twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/…— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) February 7, 2013