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Ten reasons why we love Chris Hadfield

Posted by in Science & Technology on Saturday, May 11, 2013

Commander Chris Hadfield is the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. (Photo: NASA)

Over the past five months, Commander Chris Hadfield has stolen the hearts of millions as he zooms around the Earth’s orbit, sending tweets to internet users far below. These correspondences, like thousands of digital message-in-a-bottles, spanned multiple mediums and ranged from the playful to the poetic. But together, they formed Hadfield’s invitation to the public to join him in his fascination and love of science.

As his mission comes to a close, we've put together ten reasons why we love Canada’s first commander of the International Space Station:

1. He isn’t afraid to cry in front of millions

With the help of a water bottle and his boundless aplomb, Hadfield had a little “cry” aboard the International Space Station to show what would happen. The results are both charming and oddly disconcerting, as the liquid blob jiggles around his eye.

2. He cracks jokes with Captain Kirk

Trekkies everywhere rejoiced when Hadfield chatted with Canadian actor William Shatner. Shatner first contacted Hadfield via Twitter on January 3, asking, “Are you tweeting from space?” Hadfield quipped back, “Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.”

3. He has a cooking show

Getting enough nourishment in space is tricky business, as we saw in Hadfield’s multiple videos showing how the astronauts make and rehydrate their food aboard the ISS. We’d like to suggest the segment’s title be changed to, “Food that’s out of this world,” but the joke’s been done, so we won’t.

4. He reaches out to the next generation of scientists

A father with three fully grown kids of his own, Hadfield has repeatedly beamed into schools to talk with students and answer questions. He has even performed suggested experiments that were sent in by students.

5. He celebrates the holidays

There’s nothing like a little festivity to remind yourself of home.

Hadfield put on his best St. Patrick's Day attire on March 17 (left) and even brought Easter eggs into space for the crew (right). (Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Chris Hadfield)

6. He even celebrates the holidays that aren’t technically holidays

For April Fool’s day, Hadfield posted a series of pictures to twitter over the course of a few hours that showed a small speck growing into a fast approaching UFO. In the final picture, Hadfield announced that the alien had boarded the ISS and was repeating the words “sloof lirpa” (April Fools backwards). You got us good, Hadfield.

Hadfield posted this photo to Twitter on April Fool's Day. (Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Chris Hadfield)

7. He’s a family man

Hadfield’s family is pretty spread out. Between the five of them, they are living in Canada, the United States, Germany, Ireland, China and, oh yeah, space. But they stay close through email and Christmas get-togethers. Hadfield’s son, Evan, also helps curate his dad’s very active social media account.

8. He recorded a song with the Barenaked Ladies

In celebration of Music Monday, Hadfield joined Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson and children’s choir the Wexford Gleeks to sing an original song called I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing). Who knew astronauts were so talented!

9. He makes mundane tasks seem fascinating

From brushing his teeth to dressing himself to tucking in for bed, Hadfield made the everyday seem extraordinary. Even basic nail hygiene took on a mystical allure.

10. He reminds us of the beauty of our planet

As he circled the planet, Hadfield put his photography skills to use and took countless pictures of the cities and land formations below. He showed us a new way of seeing our world and our place in it.

Hadfield tweeted this photo of the U.S.-Mexico border on May 8, 2013. (Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Chris Hadfield)

Update: In light of recent events, we’ve decided it’s necessary to add a #11. On the eve of his return to earth, Hadfield released the first made-in-space music video, in which he covers the hit song Space Oddity. And to amend David Bowie’s lyrics, we’d just like to say: This is ground control to major Chris, you’ve really made the grade.

Why do you love Hadfield? If you could spend an afternoon with him, what would you talk about? We want to know. Tweet us: @CanGeo

  Comments (9)

Those are ten great reasons out of many. Chris Hadfield is a true original. He has brought space travel to the people. He really did "trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space...and top the windswept heights with easy grace" (apologies to Magee)

Submitted by Charlotte Kathleen on Monday, May 13, 2013

Yes, we should all love Chris Hadfield for making science fun and engaging. It is such a wonderful contrast to some of the unfortunate options available in the media. Thanks for the reminders, Sabrina

Submitted by Sue Litchfield on Monday, May 13, 2013

#12: That magnificent mustache!

Great article! I've never considered all of his awesomeness at once like this... and I learned a few new ones.

Submitted by Jay Querido on Monday, May 13, 2013

Chris is a great person a d wonderful ambassador for science and space exploration. Glad to have worked with him briefly - he's the real deal. Great blog!

Submitted by Sherri Sauvé on Monday, May 13, 2013

Loved your presentation, Sabrina. You definitely have a future with Canadian Geography. I look forward to your next articles, and others into the future.

Submitted by Kevin O'Connell on Monday, May 13, 2013

Entertaining and informative read. I like Chris Hadfield. He's cool! Great Blog to share with anyone.

Submitted by Huguette Long on Monday, May 13, 2013

That was a fun and informative read, Sabrina. Reggie and I watched his return to Earth, last night. Very exciting.

Submitted by Sheila Doyle on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Hadfield is wonderful, and I'm so happy he's getting the global love he deserves.

Submitted by Sabrina Doyle on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Makes you wonder the far reaching effects he will have on the youth and thier contribution to the advancment of science. A lovely compilation of Chris Hadfeilds awesomeness.Great blog. Thank you.

Submitted by Arlene Keith on Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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