There's A Saying In The Space Business That Will Make You Rethink Risk

“What the scariest thing you’ve ever done?”

That’s how retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield opened his TED 2014 talk in Vancouver on Monday evening.

Hadfield is an expert when it comes to facing danger.

In space travel, Hadfield said, “there is no problem so bad you can’t make it worse.” He was referring to a popular phrase in the astronaut business.

It makes you rethink your concept of risk and danger on Earth.

During liftoff, Hadfield said, “you are in the grip of something vastly more powerful than yourself.” He added: “It feels like being in the jaws of an enormous dog and a foot in your back pushing you into space.”

When dealing with such complicated machinery, the only thing you can do is prepare.

“Having the goal in mind directed me to thinking about all of the small details,” Hadfield said.

Last year, Hadfield, 54, spent five months on the International Space Station, including three as the first Canadian commander. Hadfield became an Internet sensation after uploading his own version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and by tweeting pictures from space.

Hadfield retired from the Canadian Space Agency last June. He’s the author of “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life on Earth,” which discusses astronaut training, spacewalks, and preparing for disasters.

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