Astronaut Chris Hadfield documents his space odysseys
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Last Updated: Friday, December 27, 2013, 19:24
  
New Delhi: The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles. Every 92 minutes, another sunrise: a layer cake that starts with orange, followed by a thick wedge of blue and topped with richest and darkest icing decorated with stars.

The secret patterns of our planet are revealed: mountains bump up rudely from orderly plains, forests are green gashes edged with snow, rivers glint in the sun light, twisting and turning like silvery worms.

This is how Chris Austin Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space describes his first impression of space which he formed during his first space flight in 1995.

Hadfield, who captured the public's imagination by tweeting thousands of pictures from space has penned his journey from the day he was impressed as a nine-year-old child when he watched Neil Armstong on TV to the day he became the first Canadian to command the International Space Station (ISS).

The book titled " An Astronaut's guide to life on earth" published by Pan Macmillan is Hadfield's account of what it takes to be an astronaut.

"Whoever dreams of being an astronaut, visualises how space looks like, how to survive there, how to perform there and much more. But it is important for every aspirant to know that there is lot to be done on earth before you board that first space flight," Hadfield said in an interview.

"How is life in space is relevant to less people one earth I believe. There are more aspiring astronauts who are more interested in knowing how to prepare, how to learn the techniques, how to use and share technology and much more," he says.

Astronauts aren't created in space, they are nurtured on earth and the successful ones make it to the space missions. Hence, I decided to compile this book, which is a sequence of events about how I became an astronaut and hence might serve as a helpful guide to the aspirants, adds Hadfield who has been on space missions thrice.

53-year-old, Hadfield who announced his retirement in June this year is popularly known as the 'singing astronaut' after he recorded, David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in his own voice at zero gravity and the video vent viral with more than 18 million views on Youtube.

It was then he decided to compile his lessons learnt on earth and then in space and give shape to this book, a plan which he had in his mind since ten years.

He was raised on a farm in southern Ontario and decided to be an astronaut despite knowing that Canada had no space station.

A former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, he has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.

"Spacewalks are magical and the mixed feelings of anxiety, achievement, panic, fear, excitement and much more, that one experiences the moment you take off from earth are hard to define," he says.

However, Hadfield believes that lack of mental preparation on personal level can create difficulties for the astronaut.

"Once you know that you want to be an astronaut, you need to think like an astronaut even on earth and everywhere," advices Hadfield to the aspiring astronauts.

"Its not just the professional training which leads you to success in being an astronaut. It takes a great deal of optimism to deal with challenges that lay ahead and to prove your own abilities," he adds.

Hadfield is set to join University of Waterloo in Canada as a professor for a three-year term beginning in the Fall of 2014.

PTI

First Published: Friday, December 27, 2013, 19:24


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