Chris Hadfield’s Top 5 Videos from Space

by Elizabeth Howell on March 27, 2013

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Chris Hadfield all dressed up for another day in space. Credit: Chris Hadfield (Twitter)

Chris Hadfield all dressed up for another day in space. Credit: Chris Hadfield (Twitter)

Chris Hadfield — the ever-tweeting, always charming Canadian running the space station these days — has had an eventful few months in space. If he’s not chatting with Captain Kirk, he’s playing guitar or, as it turns out, making very watchable videos.

Being on television requires a certain flair. You need to talk in sound bites, cultivate a charismatic presence, and keep the action moving enough so people don’t flip the channel. For an astronaut, who usually works methodically, carefully and slowly, working on television must be fully alien (pun intended) to how one does the technical parts of the job.

But Hadfield — who knows how to study a situation and make the most of it — has created videos with hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Whatever he’s doing is working.

Universe Today checked up on Hadfield’s secrets to success by watching the most popular videos in a playlist curated by the Canadian Space Agency. Here are the top five. Strangely, the last one doesn’t even include Hadfield’s face or voice.

5) Chris Hadfield Talks with the Queen’s Representative in Canada

If you’re all about cute questions from kids, or enjoy a brush with royalty, this lengthy press conference with Hadfield is very interesting. This is a bit of a marathon charm session on Hadfield’s part, but he pulls it off with his charismatic aplomb. One of the best answers demonstrates what he’s learned about weightless life: “I can fly. I can go in different directions,” Hadfield says enthusiastically, spinning before the camera.

4) Chris Hadfield Demonstrates How Astronauts Wash Their Hands in Zero G

For a question that came out of a routine Q&A with kids, Hadfield’s performance is pretty good. He demonstrates that soapy water looks like some sort of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-like ooze in space, and compares life on the space station to life on a sailboat, all while simply washing his hands. It’s almost existential.

3) Nail Clipping in Space

It turns out that Hadfield chooses to cut his nails because long ones interfere with his guitar playing. We wouldn’t want that to happen (and neither would the Barenaked Ladies), so fortunately Hadfield gets right on the problem, positions himself over an air vent and trims them with an ordinary nail clipper. Charmingly, this was not fully scripted, as he makes a mistake with the first clipping.

2) Chris Hadfield’s Space Kitchen (aka how to make a peanut butter sandwich in space)

With words you’d never hear on Martha Stewart — “We’ve got one tortilla. Oh, got away!” — Hadfield slathers condiments on to a tortilla and eats it. His sense of humor helps break up a very routine act; we’d be scared to be one of his kids after seeing the stern way in which he says, “Disinfectant wipe!”

1) Mixed Nuts in Space

This video is oddly mesmerizing, and that’s not just because of the UFO-type music near the beginning. It’s quite a simple setup: Hadfield shoots a bunch of nuts floating around inside of a can. But face it, it looks awfully weird for those of us used to grabbing similar packages off the kitchen shelf. Maybe that’s why this video has more than 4 million views.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

zkank March 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Don Pettit – we need you back up there!

Aqua4U March 27, 2013 at 4:49 PM

There’s a new star in the sky! I don’t think he’ll get an Oscar for acting or directing… but ‘honorable mention’ wouldn’t hurt!

Me March 27, 2013 at 6:02 PM

He does have a touch of class :-)… .

Jennifer March 27, 2013 at 11:40 PM

he’ll never be as awesome as don pettit

Dave Green March 28, 2013 at 12:34 AM

Wow. You’ve gotta give these guys on HUGE attaboy! I am claustrophobic, and could not even begin to imagine myself in that confined a space; let alone for extended periods of time. Hats off sir!

nannasin smith March 28, 2013 at 6:21 AM

Disinfectant wipe!

IRFP250N

Kevin Frushour March 28, 2013 at 6:51 AM

You don’t have to do a full translation, but can anyone give the gist of what he says in French in the 22 minute video? Two questions were in French, at 11:30 and at 14:20.

Oh, and it was cool watching such a long video – the sun shining in through the right window changed over the video.

Elizabeth Howell March 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Sure thing, Kevin. The first question asked how astronauts sleep in space. Hadfield said it isn’t necessary to have a bed, and essentially explained that he has a sleeping bag stuck to the wall. He said it’s very comfortable and relaxing, and added it’s probably more comfortable than what astronauts sleep on Earth.

The second question was what kind of food astronauts eat. Hadfield said it’s lots of different kinds, but not fresh food or refrigerated food (there’s no refrigerator available, he said.) He opened a package of dried fruit, at which point he bumped the microphone and had to readjust: “The microphone floats as well,” he quipped. After he ate it, he said it’s not bad. That tin he showed next (which actually is Russian food) holds something like a salmon and includes some vegetables. Hadfield said it’s “Not really delicious, but okay,” adding it’s not really like his mother’s cooking or even restaurant food. But it’s adequate for the astronauts’ health.

Elizabeth Howell March 28, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Sorry, than what “people sleep in” on Earth should have been the last sentence of my first paragraph.

Kevin Frushour March 28, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Thank you!!

Elysse Poetis March 29, 2013 at 1:09 PM

As a friend of science, from time to time I Tweet it all.

Vic Anderson April 1, 2013 at 4:20 AM

I wear a bow tie now. Bow ties are cool.

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