What is it about us Canadians? Why are we so proud of the things we accomplish? Maybe it’s because we come from a country where two official languages flourish. Where walking in the streets of Ottawa, you can hear people switch from French to English as they walk and talk, while in the middle of a conversation. Or maybe it’s because so many unique individuals from different parts of this vast, frozen wasteland have flourished. Not just here in Canada, but on the international scene. And I’m not just talking Justin Bieber here.
But of those Canadians who have made it to where they are today as superstars in their own right, including William Shatner and James Doohan of Star Trek fame, no one could be as down to earth as the one Canadian who is presently the furthest away from Earth at the moment. Chris Hadfield.
Who is Chris Hadfield, you say? My response is one of the pioneers of the space age, and presently the commander of the International Space Station. What makes him so special? His connection to those who follow him. His constant communications with those on Earth since arriving at the station in December. He has been broadcasting, tweeting messages, and sending photos he has posted to allow those of us on the ground to see our world from his perspective.
He has conducted question and answer periods for schoolchildren through Twitter, had a conversation with another commander of a ship we all know, William Shatner, recorded a duet with Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, and was backed up by a Toronto glee choir. Basically, Chris Hadfield is showing us that being in space doesn’t mean you are out of touch.
But despite all this, what Chris Hadfield is doing is even more profound. He is showing Canadians, if not the world, the unique and wonderful vision of what space is all about, and in a way we could never otherwise see ourselves.