What's it like living in space? Col. Hadfield shows us the answer
There are plenty of places that you could argue have the best view on Earth. But as far as the best view above the Earth? Col. Chris Hadfield has seen it, hands down.
Hadfield served six months on the International Space Station earlier this year and in doing so, became the first Canadian ever to command the station.
But in the social media circles, Hadfield might be best known for sharing his incredible office view from his perch 230 miles high and posting them on his Twitter account @Cmdr_Hadfield and posting to his Facebook page.
"I took 45,000 pictures of the world.... and sent as many of them as I could down in real time to try and let people to the best of my ability see that perspective as it looked through my eyes," Hadfield told KOMO News. "And a lot of people came on board and shared it and that perspective is good for us all."
From towering, snow-capped volcanoes to intricate swirls off the the Italian coastlines, his gallery is a treasure trove of information about our home and showcases many planetary features that can't be appreciated the same way from the ground.
"I've been around the world about 2,500 times," Hadfield said. "I've done spacewalks where you've been outside holding on to a spaceship with one hand... and the appreciation for both the uniqueness and fragility of (Earth) is palpable when you see it that way. But also the shared sense of the commonness of the human experience of living on it becomes really invasive after a while as well. You stop seeing the world as 'us' and 'them' and you really start seeing it as 'us'."
Hadfield was here at KOMO Tuesday (I was like a 7-year-old getting to meet Santa Claus!) and KOMO photographers Eric Jensen and Peter Mongillo got to sit down with him for a 10 minute interview asking him about his time in space and how interest in the ISS soared during his time on board.
"The abiity of social media to invite people on board so they can see for themselves the capability of the place, to see the world in a different way it is very graityfing to be in the midst of all that and to help people see themselves and the world in a different way," he said. "In amongst all the science and research that we are doing, people really want to get a sense of the uniqueness of this place."
He pointed to two incredibly popular experiements he performed on camera while on the ISS, from clipping his fingernails in zero gravity to showing students what happens when you wring out a wet washcloth in space. It's probably not what you're thinking:
"I wonder how many kids it inspired to think about what else could you do up there," he said. "If water behaves like that, what else could you do up there? And I look forward to seeing in the future the ripple effect of that type of simple visual demonstration letting people think about the rules in a different ways and maybe coming up with different experiences in the future."
Now back on Earth, Hadfield has written a book on his adventures -- "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth".
"(It's about) the things that I had to learn and understand and develop to be successful to fly a spaceship and lead an international team on the space station," Hadfield said. "Those skills and techniques are relevant to everybody and I did my best to pick 'em apart in my head to see what we actually did within NASA and the astronaut corps and make then generally useful to anybody who is facing any kind of problem... The book is really the trial of 20 years as an astronaut."
As for what his future holds now that he's back on solid ground?
"I just keep trying to keep learning things -- information and new knowledge just gives you a bigger basis to make good decisions," Hadfield said. "It's fascinating and I've enjoyed all the opportunities that have come from all the things people have taught me."
In the meantime, we invite you to watch the full interview and also run through 200 of his 4,500 incredible photos he took from space in our photo gallery.