When I heard Colonel Chris Hadfield was coming to the UK on his book tour I knew I wanted to take the children to hear him speak.
I’d heard about Chris a couple of times in the past but it wasn’t until he began his time as the Commander if the International Space Station (ISS) that I really tuned in. His tweets, pictures and videos were a daily joy. As he lived and worked on the ISS, we watched and learned.
As it turned out, the timing didn’t work for all of the children so I booked tickets for Milla and her best friend. On a whim I added extra tickets which we used to bring a group of students from the local primary school with us. I figured there aren’t many opportunities to meet an astronaut in life so I wanted to share the opportunity.
We first caught sight of him striding through the museum surrounded by people. We had managed to loiter in the very spot they had set up to do press interviews so we watched and eavesdropped as he spoke to journalists and cameras (I spotted two of the interviews online today here and here).
I owe the fantastic photo above to a photographer asking him to look to the heavens. Not only has he turned Chris’s head toward me but I caught the light of his flash in the decisive moment. I know, enough about photos already…
At the main event Chris was awe-inspiring. Not only has he done incredible things in his working life but he is an incredible individual.
There probably aren’t words to do justice to the experience of hearing Chris Hadfield speak. He has a warmheartedness and an ability to communicate complex ideas in a simple way.
Space travel gives you perspectives we don’t have here on Earth. He likened the space we inhabit as the crust on top of porridge; the solid rock covering the molten rock below and three short miles of breathable air being a tiny space in the Universe where we cling to life.
Chris Hadfield saw the lunar landings as a child and made it his life’s work to follow the path of an astronaut. When his opportunities to travel to space came he made it his mission to bring people with him and boy did he ever do that.
When he speaks you imagine he is speaking to the next generation of astronauts for whom his work as ISS Commander is their lunar landing. He’s telling them he was a child with a cardboard rocket ship who grew up to live and work in space. He is saying that they could be next, if they choose.
“How do you turn the dreams of what you want to become into the reality that is your life? Part of the process is a gift, so nice if you can give it to a young person, and that is the gift of a long term dream, that gives them purpose to their life. A pursuit of something just barely possible.”
I took one short video during the Q&A of the last question. The Science Museum will have a video of the whole talk which I’ll link in here when it’s online.
Thank you Chris, meeting you was out of this World.