Can Canada’s sensational spacemen find happiness back on Earth

Chris Hadfield says it's "good to know" his suit still fits after five months in orbit ~ Chris Hadfield CSA/NASA Photo

Chris Hadfield says it’s “good to know” his suit still fits after five months in orbit ~ Chris Hadfield CSA/NASA Photo

Published May 11, 2013 _ Chris Hadfield, also known as “the coolest guy in outer space,” will soon be packing up his camera, guitar and keyboard for his descent back to Earth next week. But what, exactly, does he return to? Is any career back on solid ground going to be enough?

The 53-year-old farm boy from southern Ontario is due to blaze across the sky in a Russian Soyuz capsule Monday evening before landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

His five-month mission to the International Space Station, where Hadfield has been both commander and seemingly non-stop entertainer, has been a sensation. He has enchanted millions with quirky videos, stunning photographs and often-poetic tweets. “This man has single-handedly made space sexy again,” one of his more than 750,000 followers tweeted recently. Continue reading


The magic, good and bad, of life in orbit

Chris Hadfield says he can’t wait for the  “magic” of space, but he’ll also be exploring to the darker side of that magic as he circles the planet in coming months.

He’ll have the “superpower” to fly, but his bones, muscles – even his heart – will lose strength in the weightless environment. Wrinkles will vanish from his 53-year-old face – at least for the duration of the trip – but the extra space radiation in orbit might shorten his life.

The veteran astronaut from Sarnia, Ont., is set to  strap himself into a Soyuz rocket Wednesday morning and blast off to join the elite few to ever experience long duration space travel.

The International Space Station will be his home for the next five months. It’s a milestone for both Canada and Hadfield, who will be the first Canadian to take charge as commander of the $150-billion station during the second half of his stay.

From Earth, the high-flying laboratory looks like a bright star in the night sky. Continue reading

Astronaut Hadfield on the ‘magic’ of space


Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is a tough as nails pilot, and soon to be commander of a $150-billion space station.

But he has not lost his boyhood wonder.

“It’s almost like a land of magic,” says Hadfield, describing the weightless environment of space he is due to enter on December 19.

Once you leave Earth’s gravity behind, he says “it’s like someone tapped you on the head and said ‘fly’.”

Hadfield, who enters quarantine Wednesday in final preparations for  his launch from Russia’s snowy Cosmodrome, says he plans to savour the six months he is will spend floating around the International Space Station. Continue reading

Arctic Ice “Rotten” to the North Pole, scientist says

Published: September 21, 2012

By Margaret Munro

NASA handout image shows how satellite data reveals how the new record low Arctic sea ice extent, from September 16, 2012, compares to the average minimum extent over the past 30 years (in yellow).

When David Barber first headed to the Arctic in the 1980s, the ice would typically retreat just a few a kilometres offshore by summer’s end.

Now he and his colleagues have to travel more than 1,000 kilometres north into the Beaufort Sea to even find the ice.

And it’s nothing like the thick, impenetrable ice of Arctic lore.

This year the ice is “rotten” practically all the way to the North Pole, says Barber, a veteran Arctic researcher and director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Manitoba. Continue reading

‘Arsenic life’ debunked by UBC microbiologist

UBC Microbiologist Rosie Redfield helped debunk arsenic life study.
Published: July 9, 2012
By Margaret Munro
Two of the biggest players in the research world — NASA and the journal Science — were wrong when they told the world that microbes scooped from a California lake had rewritten the rules of life.

In what is being described as a case of “serial failure,” they took shoddy research, and overhyped it.

“It was a cascade of human failures,” says Rosie Redfield of the University of British Columbia, who heads one of two research teams who disproved the original claims in new research published this week. Continue reading