During his evening ritual of sharing images taken from the International Space Station, Commander Chris Hadfield posted this gem: a gorgeous night-time view of the southeastern United States, with the Moon hovering over Earth’s limb and the terminator separating night from day. Dawn is just beginning to break to the east, as the ISS flies overhead.
This image reflects the ‘wistful’ feelings Hadfield is having as his time in space in coming to a close. He and his two crewmates Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko will head back to Earth on May 13.
During a recent linkup with students, Hadfield said he is becoming “wistful” as he does tasks aboard the ISS, realizing he is doing some for the last time. He is trying to spending as much of his free time gazing out the window at Earth “because of the magnificent rarity of it and my desire to absorb as much of it as I possibly can.”
Hadfield said his emotions go between feelings of great responsibility and great honor to have been asked to command the space station, and he wants to “do it right,” making the most of his experience and communicating to as many people as possible on Earth.
“You do feel the responsibility of it to try and do it right, to try and have one perfect day on the station where I don’t make even one little mistake in any of the procedures, and I haven’t done it yet,” Hadfield admitted. “I’ve been here 130 days and I have yet to have day where I haven’t made at least one little small mistake.”
Some aspects of returning home are enticing: seeing family and friends, and eating things that aren’t dehydrated and come in a vacuum packed bag.
“I’m looking forward to fresh food and the crunch and the snap of food of all different varieties and the smell of rich coffee and the smell of fresh bread baking — that type of thing, a more full assault of the senses when I get home,” Hadfield said.