Chris Hadfield, an astronaut on the International Space Station, did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit this weekend. This is the commander’s second live Q&A. The first one was before launch to the ISS back in December.
Naturally, the subject of meteors was popular given Earth’s multiple run-ins with flying space rocks over the past few days (see here, here and here). Hadfield also fielded questions about the coolest views from space, the greatest dangers, and the future of private space travel.
Here are some of the highlights:
On meteor impacts:
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.
On the scariest thing he’s seen 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.
On the biggest danger in space:
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 like fire or ammonia breakthrough.
On what part of the world looks coolest from space:
Australia looks coolest – the colours and textures of the Outback are severely artistic. The most beautiful to me are the Bahamas, the vast glowing reefs of every shade of blue that exists.
I shave with cream and a standard multi-blade, just wipe it on a cloth every time, works fine
On his most embarrassing moment:
During my 2nd spaceflight, while doing a live National TV News broadcast, I forgot the name of the Space Shuttle Commander. He always went by his nickname of Rommel, and to come up with Kent Riming somehow escaped me. Instead, I said Ken Cameron, the CDR of my 1st flight. Oops.
On the smell of space:
The vacuum of space has no smell, but when we come in from a spacewalk the airlock smells like ozone, or gunpowder. It likely comes from the gentle offgassing of the outer metal and fabric of our suits.
On his favourite picture of Earth:
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.
You can see the photo here.
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.
On sending an average person to space:
We need better engines for spaceflight to be safer and simpler, and thus cheaper. Like the difference to cross the Atlantic in a prop vs a jet aeroplane.
Check out the full AMA here.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.