Chris Hadfield calls prospect of soon commanding ISS 'surreal'
Published Friday, March 1, 2013 9:01AM EST
As Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield prepares to take over command of the International Space Station later this month, he said he’s fully adjusted to life in space and now feels like a “spaceling.”
Hadfield told Canada AM that the prospect of taking command of the station is “surreal” and is “amazing for me to even contemplate.”
He also said that after more than two months aboard the ISS, he’s gotten used to the feeling of constant weightlessness.
“I feel like a spaceling. It sounds weird, it’s not a very common word – but I don’t feel like an Earthling,” he said from inside one of the station’s laboratories.
“I can fly and float and turn upside down. I don’t need to touch the floor. It’s a whole new way to be. At first it felt very strange, but now you don’t even think about it.”
Of course, he said, weightlessness has other benefits. “It’s a big improvement on gravity. Nothing sags, so it’s gratifying when you’re in your 50s.”
But Hadfield says daily life in space is really not that much different from the routine of life on Earth.
A typical day on the station includes meetings with colleagues back at mission control, work, maintenance and meals with crewmates. Crew members have some free time in the evenings and they also exercise for two hours a day, he said.
“Without fighting gravity you could be really lazy,” Hadfield said.
Since coming aboard the ISS, Hadfield has captivated social media followers with his tweets of stunning photos of the Earth from space.
Hadfield said he gets tips from his kids, as well as colleagues at NASA and the Canadian Space Agency on when there are good opportunities to take pictures of key sights and regions.
Recently, Hadfield took photos of Mt. Etna, an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. He said seeing the volcano from space was “almost a miracle.”
“You’re transported. There’s the whole world in all of its curvature in front of you and there’s a volcano out of the world that is spewing ash and smoke and steam,” he said. “It’s phenomenal.”