I have always been a bit of a space geek. When I was a kid, I read every single book on astronomy in the public library, and I’ve always been fascinated by space and cosmology. I think I like cosmology (the history of the universe) because it means reading books in warm, bright places instead of standing out looking at the stars on cold, blustery nights!
My endless appetite for space and Canadianisms intersect in the current mission of Commander Chris Hadfield, whom I’m sure you’ve heard is currently aboard the International Space Station. The boys and I watched the Soyus rocket launch on December 19 together, and the boys loved the idea that a Canadian was aboard. He will in fact be the commander of the international mission on the ISS starting (if I remember correctly) in March.
I’ve been following @Cmdr_Hadfield on Twitter for a while, partly because he has some fasinating insight and I kind of want his job, and partly because he’s pretty darn funny. Last week, he was a part of what may be my favourite Twitter exchange ever. William Shatner, known of course the world over as Captain Kirk, sent what seems to be a random tweet to Commander Hadfield:
@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB
The reply still makes me smile. I can’t help but hope this was a flip reply and not something scripted by PR flacks deep in the bowels of NASA. (I’m actually not sure anyone but an astronaut could be so utterly cool.) Commander Hatfield tweeted back:
@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.
How awesome is that? The next day there was another exchange, this one with @therealNimoy, where they traded LLAPs (that’s, of course, “live long and prosper.”) Geek overload!
And if you’re not a Star Trek junkie or particularly interested in what it’s like to live in orbit (but seriously, how could you NOT be?!), you should still follow @Cmdr_Hadfield for his amazing space pictures of our beautiful planet, like this gorgeous shot of snowy Ottawa tweeted on December 30:
So let’s review: astronomy plus Canadian plus social media plus photography plus cheeky geekery. Seriously, that’s all my favourite things!!
Did you know you can sign up for text or e-mail alerts from NASA to let you know when the ISS will be flying overhead? I’ve dragged the boys out a few times when a fly-past was in the news, but we’ll be especially keen to go out and watch for one now that we’re so engaged with the current mission. Check out NASA’s Spot the Station site to sign up! When I get any updates for passes visible from Ottawa, I’ll post them on my bloggy facebook page.
Commander Hadfield is actually interacting with people, too, answering questions about what life is like on the ISS. If you could ask a question to a Canadian astronaut in orbit, what would you want to know?