Tonight at 7:08 ET, Commander Chris Hadfield – one of the most charismatic Commanders in the history of the International Space Station – will return to Earth. For the last five months, his steady stream of tweets, photographs and videos have been a source of inspiration, education and entertainment for millions around the globe. Here, in no particular order, is a collection of some of the most awesome things Hadfield has bestowed upon us in his time aboard the ISS.
Yesterday, to commemorate his tenure as ISS commander, Hadfield posted this cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" – the first music video ever recorded in space. Bowie signed off on the homage, and even lent Hadfield the talents of Emm Gryner, who was a part of the Bowie live band in 1999/2000. Wrote Gryner of the collaboration on her blog:
The task was in front of me. I came up with a piano part. i then enlisted my friend, producer and fellow Canadian Joe Corcoran to take my piano idea and Chris' vocal and blow it up into a fully produced song. Drums! mellotrons! fuzz bass! We also incorporated into the track ambient space station noises which Chris had put on his Soundcloud. I was mostly blown away by how pure and earnest Chris' singing is on this track. Like weightlessness and his voice agreed to agree.
Magic – that's what happens. If it's been a while since you felt a sense of childlike wonderment stir inside you, try giving this video a go. One of our all-time favorite updates from Cdr. Hadfield.
Back in February, Hadfield hosted an AMA on reddit, wherein he was asked if he had any advice for an aspiring astronaut. His response, which you can read in full here, was illustrated soon thereafter by Zen Pencils. Awesomeness all around.
Back in January, Hadfield opened hailing frequencies for cast members from Star Trek, . including George Takei and Leonard Nimoy. Later, fellow Canuck William Shatner phoned the ISS to talk with Hadfield about life aboard humanity's orbital outpost, in what may have been the single geekiest conversation in Canadian history.
Hadfield's daily tweets of photos taken from the International Space Station helped give us all a fresh perspective on our planet. This photo, which bears a striking resemblance to a Jackson Pollack painting, is actually a view of the Australian Outback.
Or rather: there are no falling tears. Hadfield shows us why it's always good to have a hanky on hand in space.
Did we stutter? The man brought us space nachos. Bow down.
More than anything, Hadfield reminded all of us here on Earth what it means to harbor a child-like enthusiasm for space, exploration and discovery – all while upending "the public perception of the ice cold spaceman." We leave you now with this photo, posted by Hadfield to his twitter account this morning. His caption suggests that while Hadfield may be stepping down from his role as Commander aboard the ISS and returning to Earth, he's still got a lot more in store for us:
Commander Chris Hadfield, we salute you. So long for now (but not for long), and thanks for all the awesome.