One of the very first videos that Col. Chris Hadfield posted aboard the ISS as the Commander of Expedition 35 was a clip of his watch gracefully floating around his wrist. At the time, Hafield had already been to space twice, but his childlike amusement was still noticeable. In his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, he explains that he always wore his watch loosely while aboard the ISS. Whenever he had a few minutes of downtime from his heavily structured schedule, he would look down and stare at it as it bounced around his wrist.
Chris uploaded that video long before he gained internet fame. He always believed that his goal as an astronaut wasn't to go to space, as a matter of fact lots of astronauts never get the opportunity to actually leave Earth. He viewed going to space as a bonus while his real work was here on Earth. His goal has always been to educated people on what space exploration truly is, to show how he viewed life, to capture and share the childlike wonder that he felt. I knew the moment I saw his watch video that there was something different about Col. Hadfield. I'm sure he had plenty of things to do when he first arrived at the ISS, but he decided to take out a camera and film his watch. I wanted to see life through his eyes, to experience that same kind of awe.
Hadfield began to notice that people were genuinely interested in the everyday life of someone aboard the ISS. As requested by one of his sons, Chris began uploading audio files of some of the most basic sounds aboard the International Space Station. Being a sound designer, I was hooked!
Soon after, Hadfield began posting more videos showing that the most mundane tasks on Earth can become quite interesting in space. His videos gained popularity in the internet quickly, and soon enough Col. Hadfield was taking requests for experiments through video conferences with classrooms full of students from across the world.
Every video posted by Chris was another exciting trip to space for me. I had dreamed of seeing the behind the scenes of how everything worked and functioned and my dream was finally coming true. Just a week or so before leaving the ISS, Col. Hadfield shared the first music video recorded in space with the world. A cover of "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. A perfect ending to a stellar career. Shortly after arriving on Earth, Col. Hadfield announced his retirement from the Canadian Space Agency. It made me sad to know that there would be no more of Chris' videos. I had become so attached to him and his passion for life and discovery. About a year ago I came up with three words that I felt described me and my purpose here on Earth: discover, appreciate, inspire. And only now I have come to realize that if Col. Chris Hadfield had to come up with three words they would very likely be similar to mine. If I can ever come close to living by the same principles that Hadfield lives by, I know I will be able to appreciate my life to the fullest and share that appreciation with others.
I don't think I've read a book with so much enthusiasm and Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. I could not put it down. Being able to learn from a man who has inspired me so much throughout the past year and to be able to see that he is a human being just like you and I is so empowering. If you are at all interested by space or simply want some advice on how to view life on Earth from a different perspective, Col. Hadfield's book is a must read.
Thank you for your service Chris Hadfield. You have changed my life and you have to potential to change many others. Best of luck to you as you continue to share you passion with the world for many years to come!