Alan Alda recently interviewed Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield to discuss his space work, singing career, and recent book. You can catch all of it on Mr. Alda’s podcast Clear+Vivid. For instance, Mr. Hadfield notes that he used duct tape on the International Space Station (ISS) to cover over bullet-sized holes in the station’s exterior handrails torn up by space debris. This is not exactly a high-tech solution, but it works and prevents the rough edges of the damaged rails from tearing into this space suit.
Mr. Hadfield also shares his story about the time he was blinded during an ISS space walk. Amazingly, he continued with the eight-hour space walk after a quick fix bled air from his suit and restored his vision.
You can also learn about the work that went into his now famous space-based version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (see below). He notes that he had plenty of time on the ISS to write his own songs as well.
And should you be looking for a good adventure book, Mr. Hadfield book The Apollo Murders may solve that craving. It has enough real space stories intertwined within this thriller to keep it interesting. Here is the blurb for the book:
1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help.
NASA is about to launch Apollo 18. While the mission has been billed as a scientific one, flight controller Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis knows there is a darker objective. Intelligence has discovered a secret Soviet space station spying on America, and Apollo 18 may be the only chance to stop it.
But even as Kaz races to keep the NASA crew one step ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that not everyone involved is quite who they were thought to be. With political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the White House and the Kremlin can only watch as their astronauts collide on the lunar surface, far beyond the reach of law or rescue.
Full of the fascinating technical detail that fans of The Martian loved, and reminiscent of the thrilling claustrophobia, twists, and tension of The Hunt for Red October, The Apollo Murders is a high-stakes thriller unlike any other. Chris Hadfield captures the fierce G-forces of launch, the frozen loneliness of space, and the fear of holding on to the outside of a spacecraft orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour as only someone who has experienced all of these things in real life can.
Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime.
Alan Alda calls Mr. Hadfield a great communicator for space programs. Given all of his efforts and talents, it is hard to disagree.