Chris Hadfield: The Legend In Town

Chris Hadfield came into town this past weekend to speak for the 50 year homecoming for the class of 1968-1969. The event went on fabulously as people from across the province coalesced   to meet the retired Colonel. The Canadian legend began his speech  with a story about astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and how during their mission in space, complications arose with their landing zone. They would be unable to land there, so quick thinking Neil, grabbed the manual control of the spaceship and landed the ship at a location they saw in a distance. When Neil landed the spaceship, he only had 16 seconds of fuel left in the tanks. One can only imagine how intense these precious seconds would have been for the space explorers!

This moment was a revelation for the young Chris Hadfield. “If Neil can do that then, what could I do? You know? Maybe I can do something like that. That’s what I want to do. I want to fly in space. It’s not possible yet.” – Chris Hadfield 

One of the most interesting parts of his presentation was when Hadfield talked about the time he had to send two astronauts outside in space to fix an ammonia leak on the International Space Station. In order to keep their mission from being compromised the leak had to be fixed without even a day to prepare for the dangerous space walk. Chris said that he had been preparing his team for any sort of trouble, for 5 years in case something did go wrong. “Things go wrong all the time.” One golden piece of advice Colonel Hadfield gave, was that we should never hope, or cross our fingers that something will go well. He said we should be competent and utilize our time appropriately to prepare for things to go wrong, so when issues arise we’re not caught up creek without a paddle.

Colonel Hadfield also emphasized on the important point that we should educate ourselves and teach at least one person some of the valuable knowledge we have to pass on. We all owe it to one other person to teach them. He then quoted the poet Mary Angelou, “If you earn, then share. If you learn, then teach.” Hadfield says it is important that we all find a way to share the amazing experiences to other people and the world, because “Impossible things do happen.” 

After Colonel Hadfield finished a short Q and A, he picked up his guitar and played David Bowie’s A Space Oddity to finish off the speech. Leaving the audience with a memory that will reside inside them for the rest of their lives. For me, personally, it was one of the best songs I have ever seen performed or heard live in my life.