LONGUEUIL, Que. — Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield says his body feels confused and banged-up by the effects of gravity after a five-month stay in space.
After floating around weightlessly for months, suddenly, he needs to keep his own head aloft. He feels dizzy. And because there are no callouses on his feet anymore, he says, he feels like he’s walking on hot coals.
A first trip to the gym was excruciating, he says, because it felt like two people had jumped on him when he was trying to do a situp.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth Monday night after a five-month mission at the International Space Station that saw him become the first Canadian to command the orbiting laboratory.
The 53-year-old touched down in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz capsule which was also carrying Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn — the same pair Hadfield blasted off with on Dec. 19, 2012.
Since the end of the Apollo era of space-flight, NASA’s manned missions have stayed within Earth’s gravity well, never escaping into the great blackness of deeper space.
That will end with the Orion mission, set for test flights in early 2014.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Astronauts wrapped up urgent space station repairs during a rare Christmas Eve spacewalk Tuesday, braving a “mini blizzard” of noxious ammonia as they popped in a new pump.
It was the second spacewalk in four days for U.S. astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, and only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk in NASA history.
“It’s the best Christmas ever,” Mission Control radioed as the 7 1/2-hour spacewalk came to a close.
One of the biggest obstacles of sending humans to Mars is the exposure to radiation, from cosmic rays and solar particles, that astronauts would experience during the 180-day ride to the Red Planet and back.
In a few moments, astronaut Chris Hadfield changed from an orbiting Man of Steel-type to one who needs to heal from microgravity's effects. Hadfield recently spoke of his Superman-like moments of strength during five months spent on the International Space Station: wielding refrigerators with his fingertips, or somersaulting with a simple tuck and turn.
There was a surreal moment in outer space Thursday morning, as the man who played Captain James T. Kirk chatted with a real-life astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
William Shatner, the Canadian-born actor of Star Trek fame, spoke for a few minutes with Chris Hadfield, who is on a five-month space voyage.
The actor asked serious questions about the Canadian astronaut’s hopes for space travel, as well as his fears, and the emotions he felt as he stared out from beyond Earth. They also exchanged a few jokes.