Canadian born astronaut Chris Hadfield has made his country extremely proud over his many years in service, from his countless honours and experiences as a pilot, to being the first Canadian to walk in space. He was also the first Canadian to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and the only Canadian to go on board the Russian space station Mir. He adds to his list, as of 19 December 2012, the first Canadian commander of the ISS!
This exceptional man has not just let this historic moment fly by (pardon the pun) but he has taken this amazing opportunity and experience and made it even more memorable by documenting in detail his orbital routine with massive amounts of images and videos to constantly feed down to the world. Using the simple means of Facebook and Twitter (in which he has a total social network following of roughly 1 million people!) he has opened up the stars to us humble folk who could only dream of being where he is today. He has given so many people the courage to hope they too could be there themselves one day! But for those of us who will only dream of such a thing (maybe due to a crippling fear of heights and flying that holds us back!) He has really made us feel that we are there with him and has given us a detailed glimpse into everyday life on the space station and a detailed running picture book of the stunning view only space can give us of our wondrous blue planet. My daunting challenge has been to sift through the mesmerising stack of images that Hadfield has taken in his short few months in space and pick his greatest hits, so to speak! This has been a near impossible task and every person will have their own favourites but let me tread the waters and give you my top 10 pictures and my top five videos produced by Commander Chris Hadfield since 19 December 2012.
Top 10 Images
“A snail (sic) island on the waters around Indonesia, with transparent insides.” 15/4/13
Obviously this is my own personal favourite of Chris Hadfield’s top images and there is something truly lovely and very funny about this image. I wonder if the people on the island are as relaxed as the island’s image may suggest!
“Malta and Gozo, glowing in the Mediterranean under a halo of cloud on their hills” 16/2/13
This is an absolutely stunning image of Malta and its mystical island of Gozo, said to be the home of the Greek nymph Calypso, which translates as “to hide” or “conceal” . Quite apt as in this image as the beautiful island is only peeking from behind the clouds and darkness and could easily be mistaken for an unusual golden object in space!
“Cloud Vortex Spinning its wheels on the Chilean coast” 14/4/13
Whilst in space not only is Hadfield giving us a glimpse of the beauty of our landscapes but he is giving us an insight into the workings of the planet, revealing the complexities of our planet’s climate with images such as this phenomenal vortex cloud.
“Ancient Saharan stone, burnished by eternal sand and wind” 28/4/13
The Sahara seems to be a favourite landscape for Hadfield as he has stated before about how beautiful and unusual the land is and perfect to capture from space. There are many images captured of the Saharan desert that reveal the strange interaction between sand and wind that create such hypnotic images.
“Tonight’s Finale: I have no idea what this Brazilian outcrop looks like on the ground, but from orbit, it’s a brain.” 12/4/13
This amazing image most likely resembles nothing like a brain on the ground but this image is another example of how our planet’s random layout can reveal such strange yet beautiful creations.
“A clear Dublin night in early spring.” 9/4/13
We may be a tiny country but we have not been forgotten from space with Hadfield taking many pictures of us from the remotest corners of the Emerald Isle to this magical image of the busy nightlife of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. Maybe his partiality to this small country is due to the fact that his daughter is studying in Trinity College in Dublin. Click this Link to watch an interview the proud daughter gave about her inspirational father.
“Tonight’s finale: Australia. Jackson Pollock would have been even further inspired by seeing the Outback from orbit.” 24/1/13
No, this is not a secret Jackson Pollock abstract piece of artwork that’s been hiding away in some vault for many years but instead is the stunning, crazy landscape of Australia! When asked by a Reddit user “Which part of the world looks the coolest from space?” he replied that it was Australia with it’s ‘colours and textures’ being ‘severely artistic,’ and I don’t think many people could disagree with that statement when looking at this beautiful, natural “painting” coming in at number 4!
“The incredibly green lush wetness of the Amazon basin.” 6/2/13
This really is an incredible image of the Amazon worthy of 3rd place in my books. With a warm sunset reflecting off the Amazonian river giving the impression of liquid gold winding its way through the forest, it really gives a rich and majestic feel to one of the world’s most stunning features.
“Seven billion hearts, but I can see only one. #ValentineFromSpace” 14/2/13
To make this beautiful image my second favourite I am obviously a romantic at heart and Hadfield must too, as he posted this snap of the island of Corfu. This was originally taken on 7 January 2013 but he reused it on Valentine’s for the obvious reason of the islands resemblance to a heart and this became heavily tweeted across the world.
“The beautiful and violent ugliness inside a naked volcano. Chad, Africa.” 25/4/13
The top image for me has changed every day that I have been writing this article, even up to the last hour it has been changed about. I have finally rested on this more recent image of a rare glimpse inside a volcano. This image gives us one of those views of something not often seen without smoke billowing forth from it. A very formidable image yet you cannot look away, a definite favourite of mine and hopefully yours.
There are so many more images taken by Chris Hadfield that a top 50 could easily be made, but that would take a very long time to go through. He has taken amazing pictures of many countries including lots more of Ireland. To see lots more click on the following link.
Top 5 Videos
Chris Hadfield did not just document images during his time so far on the space station but has also given us a glimpse of what it is really like in the space station for an astronaut, the fun, the gross and the downright weird. So here are the top 5 Videos from Commander Chris Hadfield.
Number 5 – Chris Hadfield’s snapshots from space
Not content with providing us with all those amazing images from space, Hadfield gave us a detailed account of what he uses to take those amazing and detailed images.
Number 4 – Sleeping in Space
Hadfield not only provides us with the complicated aspects of living in Space but the mundane that many may well wonder about, including sleeping in space, and yes even astronauts wear pyjamas!
Number 3 – Nail Clipping in Space
No topic is too gross for Commander Hadfield and he can even tackle the topic of nail clipping in Space!
Number 2 – Chris Hadfield’s Space Kitchen
Eating in Space is quite different from here on Earth and here Hadfield gives us a glimpse at making and eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich!
Number 1 – Chris Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies: ISS (Is Somebody Singing)
Chris Hadfield has been a man of many firsts and as well as being an astronaut he is also a very keen musician. With this in mind maybe it will explain that before he went up on this expedition he wanted to make it historic for more than one reason. Not only is he the first Canadian commander of the ISS but he also recorded the first song from space with the lead singer of the band the Barenaked Ladies, Ed Robertson. And maybe it might be my love of country music showing, but I can’t quite get the tune out of my head. Maybe that is why Hadfield’s patch looks similarly like a guitar pick!
If you are interested in learning more about this amazing astronaut who has really taken to social media as a method of showing us the life of an astronaut and the beauty of our world then you can follow him on twitter – @Cmdr_Hadfield or on Facebook – Col.Chris Hadfield. Hadfield returned to Earth on 13 May 2013.
(Article by Kerry Scullion, Education Support Officer)