Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chris Hadfield

I had no idea when I costumed up as Commander Chris Hadfield for Halloween that he was coming to the Twin Cities.  And so soon.  On Thursday we shot over to Edina for a burrito and then to the Barnes and Noble to hear him speak.  The description of the event said 15 to 20 minutes of Q&A, but he talked for at least 45 minutes, not including a later break in signings where he talked about whether he'd ever fly again and related a story about how John Glenn was considered a national treasure and when the shuttle program kicked off, he was allowed to fly again and the astronaut consensus was they didn't want to get bumped for John Glenn, but if it happened to someone, they hoped they'd be the person who got to fly with him.  He wants to be like John Glenn.

The place was packed - this is just a small number of the people that were there.  I even bumped into Ryan off my team and we didn't know we were both going to the same event.  He avoided the microphone and waded into the audience to talk.  He even talked about how singing Space Oddity came about with the help of his son, and that a call from the International Space Station to the woman negotiating rights issues made a significant impact.

It was so crowded that I had to watch him over the top of the Romance section.  The various books showing millionaires and billionaires with babies and cats and dressed as various Village People were distracting, but manageable.  I was very glad to be as tall as I am.  My wife sat on the floor and listened.  And Eryn, well, it's good to be a kid.  Folks let her get closer and park herself on the aisle so she had an almost front row seat.

You can hear him talk and appreciate the green hat.

He signed books for a LONG time.  We missed getting a calendar page on the way in, so we were almost last.  Within a few people.  But he stuck around and shook everyone's hand and took pictures until everyone was done, within minutes of the store closing.

It will be a nice memory to think that the day humans landed a probe on a comet, we were listening to an astronaut.  "I try to go to bed every night of my life with a full bucket...I have to dump stuff out of my bucket it's so full." - Chris Hadfield on doing stuff rather than having a bucket list and celebrating landing on a comet.

Proof we actually met him and didn't steal pictures.  Can you tell I'm pretty excited?  I started college with a desire to be in the space program.  The reality changed, but the excitement never went away.  His stories about riding both the shuttle and Soyuz were particularly cool  He talked about bouncing around in the Soyuz and said it was akin to a dump truck, compared to the car ride that is the shuttle.

Eryn with Commander Hadfield.  He commented on how he liked her Doctor Who shirt.  During the Q&A he had 8 year old Natalie come up so he could address her directly about her question, "What happens if you get hit with a rock in space?"  He explained the 16 layers of a space suit including heat resistance and kevlar after he told her how her tongue would swell, her tears would freeze, and her eyes would boil and she'd be a "Dead Natalie" without her suit which was her personal space ship.  The tears were because she was so excited and she was ecstatic that he was talking to her like someone who could deal with the truth.  Her parents were all pictures and some of the biggest smiles I've ever seen on humans.

"Go around the world a hundred times. Your perspective becomes...correct. " - Chris Hadfield

I should append, this is the second astronaut we've met.  Here we are with Robert Springer at Kennedy in 2011, including me in my t-shirt that they cut off me when I was in a coma.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You WERE really happy listening to and talking with Hadfield, weren't you? I had not realized how different the experience of the talk was, being able to see over the shelves. I had no idea Natalie cried, she was so happy. I loved it that he was willing to say to bet that she would "be a dead Natalie," and also that there did not torn to be horror in the audience at that. The whole thing was a good time. -PTW