Hello Reddit!

Here is an introductory video to what I hope will be a great AMA.

My name is Chris Hadfield, and I am an astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency and Commander of the upcoming mission to the International Space Station. We will be launching at 6:12 p.m. Kazakh time on December 19th. You can watch it online here if you're so inclined.

I'm looking forward to all the questions. I will be in class doing launch prep. for the next hour, but thought I would start the thread early so people can get their questions in before the official 11:00 EST launch.

Here are links to more information about Expedition 35, my twitter and my facebook. I try to keep up to date with all comments and questions that go through the social media sites, so if I can't get to your question here, please don't hesitate to post it there.

Ask away!

Edit: Thanks for all the questions everyone! It is getting late here, so I am going to answer a few more and wrap it up. I greatly appreciate all the interest reddit has shown, and hope that you'll all log on and watch the launch on the 19th. Please be sure to follow my twitter or facebook if you have any more questions or comments you'd like to pass along in the future. Good night!

Comments: 3315 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

room6b1992 karma

Hello Mr.Hadfield,

We are a grade 6 class from Saskatchewan Canada and we are studying space. Our class was excited to hear that you were going to be answering questions about anything! Our class got together and thought of some questions that we would really like to know.

How does your body feel after being in space for 6 months?

Are you excited to meet the ISS robot: Humanoid Kino Bot in 2013?

What did your family and friends think about your dream of becoming an astronaut?

What does space foot taste like? Is it good?

How does your family feel about you going back into space?

How did it feel when your saw earth from space for the first time?

What does zero gravity feel like?

How long do you have to go to school to become an astronaut?

Were you nervous for the first time you went to space?

Thank you for your time,

We really hope that your flight on Wednesday December 19th, 2012 is both safe and successful. We are very excited for you, a Canadian, to run the international space station. Good luck, we will be watching 

ColChrisHadfield1651 karma

How does your body feel after being in space for 6 months?

Adapted. You feel like a spaceling. You feel completely normal, and don't even remember that you're flying. There is no up or down. You are really no longer an earthling, but a spaceling.

Are you excited to meet the ISS robot: Humanoid Kino Bot in 2013?

I know of Robonaut on board, but I'm more excited to see Canadarm 2 again. It is a much more capable robot.

How did it feel when your saw earth from space for the first time?

It feels like someone's revealing a secret to you. Like you're getting to see something magic for the first time. It feels like an honour. Like a huge privilege.

rv49er1664 karma

How bright are the lights on Earth when you are in orbit at night? How does it compare to the stars we see on the surface of Earth?

ColChrisHadfield2290 karma

Yes, it looks like stars from the surface of the earth, but not nearly as bright as the moon. The brightest things are lightning storms. You can see lightning storms at night for thousands of kilometers. Regular lights just look like stars from the earth. Big cities stand out as one big local glow.

This is an excellent question. Nobody ever asks this.

ColChrisHadfield1406 karma

One last thing - huge thanks to my son, Evan, who encouraged me to do this AMA, taught me how to use Reddit, and set it up for all of us.

Thanks, son!

Love, Dad

ColChrisHadfield1389 karma

To facilitate getting less repeat questions from the last AMA, what I've done is answered a number of the "standard" interview questions up front, including those sent to my son in PMs the other day. I will provide them below in individual posts.

What are you bringing with you?

The Soyuz is very small and the weight balance affects how it flies, so we are very restricted in what we can bring. I thus chose small items for my family and close friends: a new wedding ring for my wife, commemorative jewellery, a watch for my daughter (I flew a watch each for my sons on previous flights), a full family photo for my Mom and Dad, and some mission emblem guitar picks.

ColChrisHadfield2506 karma

Won't you be lonely?

In the centre of every big city in the world, surrounded by noise and teeming millions of people, are lonely people. Loneliness is not so much where you are, but instead is your state of mind. On Station with the world in our window, people on the radio, family just a phone call away, and other crew members to chat with, plus a full plate of experiments and work to do, loneliness is no more of a problem than it is everywhere else.

ColChrisHadfield1967 karma

What does launch feel like?

Launch is immensely powerful, and you can truly feel yourself in the centre of it, like riding an enormous wave, or being pushed and lifted by a huge hand, or shaken in the jaws of a gigantic dog. The vehicle shakes and vibrates, and you are pinned hard down into your seat by the acceleration. As one set of engines finishes and the next starts, you are thrown forward and then shoved back. The weight of over 4 Gs for many minutes is oppressive, like an enormous fat person lying on you, until suddenly, after 9 minutes, the engine shut off and you are instantly weightless. Magic. Like a gorilla was squishing you and then threw you off a cliff. Quite a ride :)

perezidentt415 karma

Has any astronaut ever passed out during take off? Did someone have to wake them up or did they wake up on their own?

ColChrisHadfield1019 karma

No. The reason is that the blood doesn't drain to your feet. You're lying on your back so you don't black out.

lethargicwalrus701 karma

Has anone ever shit themselves?

ColChrisHadfield1221 karma

Ha! No. We're not beginners, and we're not unprepared. We train for years so that we're ready to do our job properly.

TottenhamHotspur331 karma

That's awesome. Is there a sudden change from light to darkness or does it happen gradually?

ColChrisHadfield1016 karma

It takes about 15 seconds from being in the sun to being in complete dark. It is like sunset happening completely in 15 seconds.

ColChrisHadfield1226 karma

Sex in space

People have sex on Earth all the time. It is a normal, basic human function and fundamental desire, necessary for the propagation of our species. It is also steeped in cultural and personal significance, and thus gets extra attention. There will, of course, be sex in space, just like everywhere else, but for a small crew, the subdividing emotional attachment that goes along with it could be very harmful. We also have had very limited hygiene and privacy to this point. With bigger and bigger crews and spaceships, however, it will become a natural part of human existence in space, just like on Earth.

ColChrisHadfield1080 karma


No astronaut has ever seen an alien, despite what popular media would like you to believe, though we are, of course actively looking; it's one of the basic purposes of exploration. As we speak, the Mars rovers are hunting for signs of life on our nearest neighbour. I'd love to help discover life somewhere besides Earth, but it's important to keep perspective and reason: while everyone often sees things they don't understand, to immediately label them 'UFOs' and conclude that they have to be alien life is just wishful thinking and a bit silly. Don't confuse entertainment and lack of understanding with fact.

ColChrisHadfield1054 karma

Why spend money in space when people are hungry on Earth?

In all societies, we need to balance how we spend our money. The vast majority needs to be on human health and services. A portion also needs to go to education. In addition, some needs to be for research and exploration. It is vital that we take care of our people, educate our young, and develop opportunities for the future. If we don't challenge our citizens with demanding ideas and possibilities, they will either go elsewhere which is a loss, or not realize their potential, which is a tragedy. The key is to decide what is the right balance of budget, and when you look at the actual figures, I think the Space Agencies of the world get it about right. I know in Canada we work very hard with the money we are given to do as well for our country as we can - developing useful products, better understanding the world and human health, and inspiring our next generation.

ColChrisHadfield988 karma


Our Space Station toilet looks like a camping toilet, and uses airflow in place of gravity. When waste comes out of the body, either solid or liquid, it is pulled into the toilet by airflow. The urine is mixed with other waste water (humidity, water samples, etc) and purified back into drinking water. The solid waste is collected in a small sewage tank and put into an unmanned resupply ship, that is then jettisoned and burns up in the upper atmosphere. For a good summary, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj-WgWLdiG8

ColChrisHadfield950 karma

What language do you speak?

I grew up speaking English, learned some German in high school which I unfortunately mostly forgotten, and since studied and learned French and Russian. On station English and Russian are the standard languages, and all astronauts are trained in both.

ColChrisHadfield891 karma

Are you scared?

Fear comes from being unprepared when facing the unknown. Being thrust into an unexpected situation and not knowing what to do makes everyone uncomfortable, and thus we fear it, especially if it can embarrass or kill us. As astronauts, we avoid this by working for years to understand the unknown, and decide in advance what we will do. That's why we study so much, and why we live and work in simulators. Often the 1st time you try something hard you are nervous, but the 50th time it feels normal. We try and make everything that might happen during a spaceflight feel just like that. So it's not that we're extra-brave - we're just extra-prepared.

ColChrisHadfield866 karma

How's the food?

Space food is fine, tasty, and of good variety. It's limited to food that has a long shelf life, with no refrigeration and no microwave, so it's a lot like camping food or Army rations. The majority of it is dehydrated, so we add cold or hot water to it, like Ramen noodles or instant soup or powdered drinks. But we have a mixture of Russian and American foods, plus specialty items from Canada, Europe and Japan, so we eat well, and also use dinner as a good time to get together and talk, relax, and be human.

perezidentt280 karma

What country has the best all around food in your opinion?

ColChrisHadfield681 karma

I think I like Russian space food the best. It has the most natural flavour and it is more like the comfort food that I grew up with.

douring261 karma

Tell us about some of your favorite space foods!

ColChrisHadfield694 karma

Shrimp cocktail. Because the horseradish sauce has a really strong, sharp flavour that survives rehydration.

ColChrisHadfield836 karma

What do you have to do to become an astronaut?

Astronaut selection requires 3 fundamental tenets: health, brains, and experience. You have to be able to pass the toughest medical in the world to be a Space Station astronaut, so stay in shape and eat right. You have to demonstrate the ability to learn complex things, so an advanced technical university degree is needed. And you have to demonstrate good decision-making when the consequences really matter, so important to have work experience such as a medical doctor, or test pilot, or saturation diver. That will whittle the selection group down to several hundred - after that other skills matter: languages, flying experience, diving experience, personality, attitude, how you present yourself. And above all, a driving, fundamental desire to be an astronaut is required, to successfully endure the life demands of the job.

ColChrisHadfield770 karma

Did spaceflight change religious view?

No one gets to be an astronaut without a strong personal conviction that gives them strength and confidence. No matter what religion or creed they believe in, all astronauts have something fundamental within themselves that they can draw upon. The actual experience of space travel in fact deepens this, reinforces it, and accentuates the awe and wonder that are at the base of it.

ColChrisHadfield753 karma

What do you miss the most?

I miss a hot shower, fresh food, the smells and variety of Earth, and direct human contact.

ColChrisHadfield1351 karma

Dear Redditors - it is late, and my flight surgeon just came in and told me to get to bed. We have lights-out here in Quarantine in 30 minutes, and I have to get back to my building and get to sleep.

Tomorrow we go get into our Soyuz spaceship. It's our final look inside before our launch on the 19th. We'll check where everything is in its final configuration, and make sure we're happy that it's ready for us to go to space.

A pretty exciting time in anybody's life, and hugely so for me.

Thanks for the great questions and dialogue, and for giving me a chance to try and share this incredible new human experience.

Goodnight from the Baikonur Cosmodrome

Chris Hadfield CSA Astronaut

ColChrisHadfield1105 karma

What does it feel like to look down on earth during a space walk?

It is wildly beautiful, the colours and textures, the global view, the chance to have the Northern Lights ripple under your feet. Stupefying

ColChrisHadfield972 karma

What is your biggest fear associated with embarking on a mission?

That someone I know and love on Earth will get hurt or die, and I won't be able to help or be there.

ColChrisHadfield768 karma

Are you mentally at work all the time during the mission, or will you feel like you can 'get away' for a break now and then?

I will deliberately mentally get away. Play guitar by the big cupola windows and steal some time to truly appreciate what is actually happening - to me, and in history

brazilliandanny437 karma

Commander Hadfield,

My question does not involve space, but your history as a test pilot.

I heard when you were a military test pilot you were the one who invented the maneuver to get out of a death spiral/spin in a fighter jet. I have a few questions about this.

  • Was it all done in a simulator? did you ever get a chance to try it in a real jet?

  • Has anyone ever had to use your maneuver in real life? And if so did you ever get a chance to speak to those pilots?

In closing Id just like to say you are a true Canadian hero and an inspirational bad ass.

ColChrisHadfield658 karma

Was it all done in a simulator? did you ever get a chance to try it in a real jet?

Yes, I did. Simulators all have serious limitations. Our test program was initially approved in a simulator, but all the real testing was done in flight in f-18's. We rewrote the procedures for out of control flight recovery. In the test program, we put the jet out of control around 120 times. However, I have only accidentally had an F-18 in an out of control spin once, and the recovery procedures worked (during a practice dog fight).

newmexico327 karma

Can you reddit from space? How? If so, what are the speeds like?

ColChrisHadfield1250 karma

I'm not sure, our connection is intermittent and slow, but if I can do an in-space AMA, I will!

SoHoNoVo272 karma

Hello Commander! thank you for doing this!

  • On a high level, how does what you experience with the Canadian Space program differ from what most astronauts experience with the US one?

  • What should Canada be doing with its space program going forward?

  • Any good restaurants in Kazakhstan that you can recommend?

  • Favourite place to travel to that doesn't start with an "S" and end with "pace"?

  • Being from Sarnia do you cheer for the Leafs, the Red Wings, or someone else?

  • I see in your past you have been a test pilot - Favourite aircraft to fly?

EDIT: spelling

ColChrisHadfield541 karma

On a high level, how does what you experience with the Canadian Space program differ from what most astronauts experience with the US one?

The big difference is that the US has launched vehicles. Americans fly in their own space ships. Canada has never had human launch vehicles, and we have always flown in other countries' vehicles. It is sort of a space between ownership and being a guest.

What should Canada be doing with its space program going forward?

Doing what it is doing. I think we're doing the right thing right now. We are looking at Canada's needs and cooperation internationally, making sure that Canada is involved in everything from the Hubble telescope to studying pollution in the atmosphere to being on Mars to commanding the space station.

Being from Sarnia do you cheer for the Leafs, the Red Wings, or someone else?

The Leafs.

RapMaster5000264 karma

How do you properly trim your moustache on a mission?

ColChrisHadfield546 karma

I'll trim my moustache with scissors and a vacuum cleaner.

ken27238253 karma

Hello Commander Hadfield! First off thanks for doing this AMA and if possible the AMA from space, just 2 questions for you:

  1. what is the best part of being/living on the International Space Station?

  2. When you come back form prolonged stays in space what is the first thing you want to eat?

(Also if your space AMA does happen I think all of Reddit is expecting a super awesome verification photo.)

ColChrisHadfield733 karma

The best part is being weightless forever. It is like magic. It is like having a superpower where you can fly. You can fly forever.

workacct20910234 karma

Thank you for being an envoy of all mankind (UN Outer Space Treaty). What's the strangest thing you've seen up there?

ColChrisHadfield778 karma

A huge meteorite burn up between me and Australia.

exitpursuedbybear32 karma

How big a threat are micrometeorites to the ISS and how do you deal with them?

ColChrisHadfield106 karma

How big a threat are micrometeorites to the ISS and how do you deal with them?

We get peppered by micrometeorites all the time, but the Station has armour. It won't stop a big one, but we have emergency response prodecedures if we get a puncture.

Salacious-223 karma

What do you hate about being in space? What's the worst part?

ColChrisHadfield468 karma

I don't hate anything about it. The worst part at first is motion sickness, then later that you can never have a good shower. You can't properly clean your body like you can on earth. You can only just have a sponge bath.

pecamash123 karma

Follow up: has being in space made you hate anything about Earth?

ColChrisHadfield377 karma

No. But being in space makes me feel like I need to take batter care of the Earth. To be a good steward and advocate. To pick up trash when I see it, to notice the beauty that surrounds me, to recognize what's precious.

I try not to hate anything - it's rarely a motivator to do something good.

blub__blub208 karma

Do you consider yourself a science fiction fan? If yes, what material in particular?

ColChrisHadfield608 karma

Yes, I am a science fiction fan. I grew up as a science fiction fan. I like Arthur C. Clarke, Issac Asimov, Robert Heinlein. I like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Star Trek.

That said, nowadays I prefer science fact.

rv49er207 karma

How well does the giant swimming pool (NBL) simulate weighlessness? Can I just skip Zero G?

ColChrisHadfield367 karma

Pretty well. The advantages are full-size, tools and equipment being just right. The disadvantages are that there is drag in the water, and your blood rushes to your head when you're upside down.

HitByShortbus205 karma

What is it like to sleep in a weightless environment?

I know you are essentially strapped in but does it still feel like you are floating?

Does that make it easier or more difficult to sleep?

ColChrisHadfield648 karma

Sleeping with no gravity is wonderful - you can relax EVERY muscle, you don't need to roll over, you don't need a pillow - VERY comfortable!

dibshi198 karma

What does it feel like to go from being weightless for months, back to your normal weight on earth? Must seem incredibly weird...

ColChrisHadfield458 karma

It feels so ... unfair! Even your ARM is heavy. It takes about 1 day on Earth for every day in space to readapt.

ColChrisHadfield190 karma

This question was sent to me yesterday when my son was announcing the AMA from /u/Tuesday_D:

I want to know about the differences in experience between NASA launches and Russian Space Agency launches and how that might change his perspective of the mission.

They are very similar - years of training, focus towards launch, dress rehearsals, a week or 2 of quarantine, a rocketship nearby getting fueled, suiting up, ride out to the pad, pressure checks, and ... launch! The differences are language, size and design of the ship, and Baikonur isn't Cocoa Beach.

pizzak188 karma

I imagine that your job is pretty high-stress, what do you do at home to relax and unwind? Hobbies?

ColChrisHadfield584 karma

I try and manage my stress at work, not at home. I think that's an important thing to note. Stress normally occurs when you can't solve a perpetual problem or you can't get comfortable with a certain idea. When you can't control your own destiny. I try not to let myself be that way. I try to truly accept the things I cannot change.

I like to show up at home not stressed. But to answer more directly, I run, I play guitar, I go for walks.

ColChrisHadfield178 karma

Do you land in Kazakhstan on the return flight?

Yes, after 5 months in orbit, we'll land on the open Kazakh prairie, normally near Arkylyk, a few hundred km from where we launched

VolatileChemical176 karma

Hey Chris! Congrats on becoming the first Canadian to command the ISS. As a fellow Canadian I gotta know, what's in store for the future of the Canadian space program? Is there any point hoping for a Canadian shuttle or moon landing in my lifetime, or should we just keep on bragging about the Arm? Thanks for doing the AMA and good luck on your mission!

ColChrisHadfield338 karma

Is there any point hoping for a Canadian shuttle or moon landing in my lifetime

Building your own human launch vehicle is extremely expensive. It makes more economic sense to cooperate internationally with people who've already developed that capacity.

totheredditmobile154 karma

How is preparing for a Soyuz flight different to the preparations you had to go through for Space Shuttle missions?

Also, how can you best describe the feeling of looking down on Earth from orbit for the first time?

ColChrisHadfield533 karma

How is preparing for a Soyuz flight different to the preparations you had to go through for Space Shuttle missions?

A shuttle mission is an end in itself. It is limited by the amount of time a shuttle can stay up (about 2 1/2 weeks). A Soyuz flight is going somewhere, and staying there for half a year. A Soyuz flight is part of a long mission. A shuttle flight is a mission to itself.

To further that, the Shuttle is far more complicated than the Soyuz. As well, as a Canadian I can be a Soyuz pilot, but could not be a Shuttle pilot. Soyuz parallel parks better, too.

whatsamathinkyjig152 karma

What do you actually do? It seems like whenever people picture astronaughts, they just picture a bunch of people hanging out in space.

ColChrisHadfield266 karma

The Space Station has 130 experiments running simo, from studying the human heart to collecting dark matter from the universe to measuring the health of Earth's atmosphere. We run the experiments, and the building, and fix everything that breaks.

toneimei142 karma

Col. Hadfield, thanks for doing this IAMA. I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming launch.

As for my question -- I have heard that space has an odd scent/"taste", very similar to a type of metallic. Is this true? If so, is it a nauseating scent?

Again, thank you and best of luck!

ColChrisHadfield328 karma

When we come in from a spacewalk the airlock has a distinct smell, like gunpowder or ozone - that is the smell of space.

Afraid_of_Heights131 karma

If you could bring one famous person into space with you, who would it be?

One non-famous person?

ColChrisHadfield406 karma

Assuming I already had a competent crew, so that I wasn't counting on this person to operate the vehicle and keep us alive, I would bring an extremely talented artist. One who could capture the experience in a way it had never been captured before.

That may be a songwriter (such as Stan Rogers, if he were still alive) who could put a profession -- a way of life -- into perspective.

MrGeck0128 karma

Hows your day been so far?

ColChrisHadfield189 karma

My day has been fine. We did a media tour of Quarantine here in Baikonur (they were all wearing masks so we wouldn't catch their colds), I exercised, I studied, I did emails, and now I'm doing an AMA. I also ate well - the food in Quarantine is good!

LunarLobster98 karma

Hey Commander Hadfield! Awefully great of you, taking time to answer questions and everything! I was wondering, what place on earth reminds you the most of space?

ColChrisHadfield259 karma

Being underwater, especially when I lived on the ocean's floor for a few weeks.

Florida_ICU_RN96 karma

What would you say to a young woman in high school that loves science? Any words of advice/wisdom?

ColChrisHadfield193 karma

Study what you love, and learn it as well as you possibly can - pursue your passions.

Onikouzou93 karma

What does zero gravity feel like?

ColChrisHadfield260 karma

Like magic, like a genie touched your head and said "Fly!"

NDN_perspective89 karma

what do you tell people who believe that the moon landings are all faked? Thanks for doing this by the way!

ColChrisHadfield218 karma

They should look at the photos of the tracks and Lunar Landers sitting on the Moon :)

Ferr3788 karma

When you're talking to other astronauts on the space station, do you all orient yourselves so that your heads are all "upright" respective to each other, or do you all grow so comfortable with the lack of gravity that you're able to talk at odds to each other's perspective?

EDIT: Canadian from Toronto, wanted to add we're all proud of you. We might not have a manned-launch under our belts as you mentioned earlier, but we contribute enormously to international efforts in near-Earth orbit and beyond. Thank you!

ColChrisHadfield168 karma

Having a conversation in weightlessness is like chatting in a swimming pool. Your sort of drift around, and don't always look at each other. But when you want to say something important, or be clearly understood, you need to get your heads lined up and make eye contact.

Maybe also like a conversation in bed.

Stojas70 karma

I am an aeronautics engineering student and I am on my last year before getting my degree. Going to space has been a gear dream of mine for as since I can remember and that is how I aim to make that dream come true. I hope I can get in the ESA (Since I'm European) and make that dream come true.

People like you and those who went in the space before you inspired me. People who are pushing the limits of the human race. People who make the human race better as a whole. The contribution of s the effort to explore space has been immeasurable and I hope to be part of it.

My question has to do with the dangers of such an operation. The way I see it going to space can be the most dangerous thing a man can do. But at the same time the most rewarding. So what in your opinion is greatest danger out there and what ways are there in your opinion to avoid them.

Good luck and be safe out there.

ColChrisHadfield182 karma

Worthwhile things often involve risk. The secret is to balance risk vs reward. I am NOT a thrill-seeker. I take calculated risks to do things that I deem worthwhile. Like being strapped into a Soyuz rocket in 6 days.

doozerpm68 karma

Hi Commander! Thanks for answering our ridiculous questions! Just a real simple question for you...

What does the space station smell like to you? Does it smell like a wet laundry room with a strong copper overtone, or an automobile shop?


ColChrisHadfield156 karma

The Station has no distinctive smell - it is clean and well-maintained, like being inside an airliner, maybe.

Mitrix60 karma

What is your educational background?

ColChrisHadfield114 karma

I have an BEng, an Masters in Aviation Systems, and graduated from Test Pilot School.

Capitan_Amazing49 karma

How do you scratch your nose when you're wearing one of those space-suits?

ColChrisHadfield94 karma

We have a squishy thing inside we jam our nose into while we clear our ears - we scratch our nose on that.

whidzee48 karma

What kinds of new space technology are you most excited about, either stuff that's been made, or stuff that is in the works?

ColChrisHadfield107 karma

What excites me most in space technology is ... propulsion. We are very limited in what we have now, and to go to Mars or further we will likely need something better. The VASIMIR engine, the ion drive engines, much more efficient solar power, these all help point the way to the future.

Patches6746 karma

Ever see anything weird up there? Aurora Borealis from space? Glowing atmosphere? The tops of lightning storms? Space debris, etc?

ColChrisHadfield202 karma

During my first spacewalk I was riding on Canadarm2 as the Space Station was coming across the Indian Ocean in the dark, at 8 km/sec. I shut off my spacesuit lights to let my eyes adjust, so I could see the lights of Australia.

But instead, I saw ... the Southern Lights. Thousands of miles of greens and reds, yellow and orange curtains billowing and flowing with light, pouring up out of the Earth under my feet. I couldn't believe it.

Could this really be the Earth I knew? How could this always be happening and I had never known it?

It gave be a new-found wonder at our ignorance, and really showed me our planet as a ball going around a star, just another planet, but an immensely beautiful one. Made me love our Earth even more.

Cinnamon_J_Scudworth40 karma

Is there available exercise opportunity on the space station? The effect of long-duration time periods in microgravity must have an impact on your body when you return to Earth. I once saw a picture of a treadmill that straps you into it with resistance bands, does that still exist on the space station? Do you or other astronauts suffer from orthostatic intolerance, muscle wasting, bone mineral density loss once returning to earth? Is there a specific amount of pre-flight exercise training to boost your fitness to combat any potential loss of muscle? Thanks, and good luck!

ColChrisHadfield80 karma

We have the ARED - Advanced Resistive Exercise Device - like a big squat machine, and work out 2 hours per day. With that, we have largely beaten osteoporosis.

drcuetogomez39 karma

What games do you play while in space? I suppose playing poker doesnt require a table

ColChrisHadfield105 karma

I invented a form of darts - with a heavy metal knob that had a velcro sticker on it, a long zip-tie as the haft, and a handkerchief parachute to slow it down, all duct-taped together. I aimed at Vecro on the walls, threw it slow and straight - worked great!

dasMBull36 karma

White Oaks Secondary School represent! Thanks for doing this!

ColChrisHadfield45 karma

Go WOSS! I am a proud graduate.

Armonasch36 karma

What's it like playing Guitar in space?

ColChrisHadfield90 karma

The Space Station is noisy, as the fans and pumps have to move the air to keep us alive. So it sounds like playing in the back of a bus.

The best part is that the guitar floats in front of you. You don't need a strap!

You have to relearn how to bar chord, as without weight, your arm goes too far, and you overshoot.

Turdbol34 karma

Commander, how would you feel Hollywood has portrayed space travel? Specifically along the lines of "Apollo 13" and "Armageddon".....?

ColChrisHadfield105 karma

Apollo 13 was a great film. I thought it was well told and was quite accurate.

Armageddon on the other hand...

Dibzy33 karma

I was just thinking, once you have been to space... What else can you do in life that can even come close to such an achievement or be so fulfilling?

ColChrisHadfield66 karma

Interesting question, one of perspective. I find every day fulfilling. I work hard at what I'm doing, I do it as well as I can, and I find satisfaction in every small thing.

It is not like my life is compromised so that I can fly in space. I love each part of each day, AND I fly in space.

I think it's largely how you look at it.

it_takes_one31 karma

Did you have to undergo severe G force training?

ColChrisHadfield58 karma

Yes - I flew the world's largest centrifuge in Star City, Russia, to practice manually flying the Soyuz home through the atmosphere. It can get to >20G, but we only go up to 8.

[deleted]31 karma

What watch do you wear in space? I know the Omega Speedmaster has popularity because it's been worn in space, on the moon, etc.

Curious what astronauts are wearing these days.

ColChrisHadfield52 karma

I bought an Omega Speedmaster, very useful for spaceflight.

GullibleBee29 karma

How hard was calculus for you in the university?

ColChrisHadfield47 karma

I find theoretical math hard, but also useful. It's like using a complex machine to do something you couldn't do any other way, like a backhoe or a fly rod. Once you see the purpose of it and learn how it works, though, it gets easier. It just takes dogged work and repetition to figure it out. Also true for spaceships.

chrherr25 karma

Have you ever gone into the shadow of the ISS or another space ship while on a space walk? If so what was it like? Is it total darkness?

Edit: Thanks for the response! And good luck up there! I'll watch you every night you pass over Chicago!

ColChrisHadfield43 karma

When in space, if you look away from the Sun, it is total darkness. It's because there is no air to reflect and refract the light around you.

You can even take a picture looking at the Sun. The bright Sun will be blown out in the image, but space around it will be black.

The only light becomes the glow of the Earth and starlight. Very cool.

labtec90123 karma

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

ColChrisHadfield60 karma

My favorite subject in school was English. I love the exquisite power of language, especially when well-used. It can sometimes turn our random thoughts and mental images into poetry and lyrics and speeches that truly communicate and inspire.