Canadian Astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield has risen to Twitter fame over the course of the last few months by tweeting beautiful pictures of earth from the point of view of the International Space Station, currently orbiting around the planet at a sedate pace of 27 600km per hour.
Consider this one, for example.
The Isle of Wight looks like a jigsaw piece that needs to be moved up and in. twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/…
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) March 13, 2013
Yesterday, Chris Hadfield took official command of the ISS, making him the first Canadian Commander of the ISS in the history of space exploration.
To celebrate the fact, the Canadian Space Agency released a list of frequently asked questions on their website (which you should check out, because space is cool), which Hadfield answered. Here are our favourite questions and answers, below.
What does space look like?
It looks like a carpet of countless tiny perfect unblinking lights in endless velvet, with the Milky Way as a glowing area of paler texture.
Have you done any space walks? If so, what was it like?
I was Canada’s first spacewalker, doing 2 to help build the mighty Canadarm2 robot onto ISS. It was the most magnificent experience of my life. Alone in a 1-person spaceship (my suit), just holding on with my 1 hand, with the bottomless black universe on my left and the World pouring by in technicolor on my right. I highly recommend it.
How do you tweet from space?
I’m Tweeting from a regular laptop inside my sleeping station. Our signal is relayed via satellite to a mirror site in Mission Control. It’s a bit slow, but excellent for Twitter!
How do you take pictures from space?
Taking pictures of our planet from the cupola, a favourite pastime of astronauts aboard the ISS. Space Station cameras are Nikon D2 and D3, with a variety of lenses out to 400. We can even take them out into the vacuum.
What is the prettiest thing to look at from space?
The aurora – Northern and Southern lights. A fantastic continuous light show as we swing north and south, just shimmering and dancing there, demanding to be stared at.
What is your favorite picture you’ve taken so far?
My favourite picture is of noctilucent cloud – to me it is both beautiful and scientific. I never thought I’d even see those rare phenomena, let alone get a top-notch photo of them.
What is the scariest thing you have seen while in space?
I watched a large meteorite burn up between me and Australia, and to think of that hypersonic dumb lump of rock randomly hurtling into us instead sent a shiver up my back.
You mentioned on Twitter that the ISS is peppered with meteors but has armour. Do you hear them hit? What about things like the solar panels?
Sometimes we hear pings as tiny rocks hit our spaceship, and also the creaks and snaps of expanding metal as we go in and out of sunlight. The solar panels are full of tiny holes from the micro-meteorites.
What are the hazards of your job?
The biggest danger is launch – all that power and acceleration. Once we survive that, it’s just a steady threat of radiation, meteorite impacts, and vehicle system failure likefire or ammonia breakthrough.
A great man. A great mustache. In space.
Follow Commander Hadfield on Twitter, HERE.
[Source : Canadian Space Agency]
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