Monday, May 13, 2013

Commander Hadfield returns home a hero

At approximately 10:30 ET tonight, Commander Hadfield will set foot on the earth for the first time in 146 days. In those 146 days Hadfield has grown an extensive Twitter following, answered questions on Reddit, shared some amazing videos, posted thousands of pictures, and now he's released this awesome cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity":

For someone like me, that has been following Hadfield very closely, the video is pretty emotional. Hadfield's effort in science outreach is commendable and, perhaps, irreplaceable. I'm a chemist, but I can be honest with myself: Space is cool. Space increases the public's interest in science. It sparks discussion among lawmakers. Children and adults can appreciate how awesome space is, and it's great that Commander Hadfield saw his opportunity to make a difference and took it. His tweets, pictures, and videos have brought science to the public in a unique way. 

In one of his final tweets from the ISS, Hadfield shared this picture:

Along with the words
"Spaceflight finale: To some this may look like a sunset. But it's a new dawn."
Which has powerful implications. Commander Hadfield is coming home, and we could look at that as the sunset on the pictures we've come to expect from the space station. A sunset on videos showing us what it looks like when cry or wring out a washcloth in space. Or, we could look at it as a new dawn. Commander Hadfield has injected new excitement into science outreach, a bolus of interest we can now build on.

So, Commander Hadfield, thank you!!