A couple of hours ago, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield handed over the keys to the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov. For the past five months, commander Hadfield has not just pulled the ropes of a billion dollar science vessel, but also brought the beauty and mystery of Space to a new generation. While orbiting the Big Blue Marble at 400 kilometers, the 53-year-old, music-loving, Maple-Leafs-fan has taken an astronomical step into cyberspace.
In-between science experiments and spacewalks, Hadfield has used his Twitter feed, Facebook page and Nikon D3s camera to remind the millions of people populating the twitterverse and the blogosphere that we are all caretakers of Spaceship Earth. And good planets are hard to find.
From psychedelic cloud formations, to jet traffic over San Francisco, our space sailor’s mind-blowing photos and often-poetic captions have allowed me to re-live my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. What a journey it has been! Here is a handful of my favorite photos. Which one do you like the most?
Like many of his 750,000 followers on Twitter, I wonder what Hadfield will do next, after packing up his camera gear and returning to planet Earth later tomorrow. Regardless of what happens, he will for a very long time be the coolest guy in outer space. I bet Neil would be proud. Thank you, Sir, for inviting us to your party. Live long and proser.