- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2013

And you thought smartphone video chat was impressive.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield participated in an online chat with users of the social media website Reddit on Sunday — and did so while orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station (ISS).

The first Canadian to undertake a spacewalk and to board the Russian Mir space station, the 53-year-old Mr. Hadfield has been aboard the ISS since December and has been posting daily messages and space-shot photographs of Earth to more than 380,000 Twitter followers.

Using a laptop computer and an Internet connection made possible through a satellite relay and a terrestrial server in Houston, Texas, Mr. Hadfield answered questions from roughly 220 miles above the Earth. 

More than 2,000 questions for and comments about Mr. Hadfield were posted in Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” section, which recently has hosted chats with President Obama and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Herein, the highlights of Mr. Hadfield’s chat:


What [does] the sky look like outside of the atmosphere to the naked eyes?

It looks like a carpet of countless tiny perfect unblinking lights in endless velvet, with the Milky Way as a glowing area of paler texture.

Which part of the world looks the coolest from space?

Australia looks coolest — the colors and textures of the Outback are severely artistic. The most beautiful to me are the Bahamas, the vast glowing reefs of every shade of blue that exists.

Do you ever get the urge to point and shout out, “Look! I can see my house from here!”

At first, yes, but after a few days, you start to see the whole world as one place. An awesome perspective to be given.

What does space smell like? 

The vacuum of space has no smell, but when we come in from a spacewalk the airlock smells like ozone, or gunpowder. It likely comes from the gentle offgassing of the outer metal and fabric of our suits.

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