Canadian Astronaut and International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield touches the stars
Only 7 weeks into his new mission on the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who was also the first Canadian to walk in space is touching the stars both literally and figuratively. Science fiction fans along with folks around the world are familiar with the sub-space messages sent via twitter between real life space adventurer Col. Hadfield and one of the most famous fictitious space Captains of all time, William Shatner.
But just as fun to me and not covered as much were the follow up tweets between the soon to be Commander of the International Space Station and other notable star trek personalities, George Takei, Wil Wheaton and the world’s most beloved Vulcan, Leonard Nimoy. The tweets between the Earth’s surface and the planet’s orbiting Space Station were not just noteworthy because of who was sending them, but also because of the witty nature and sharp sci-fi humor contained in them.
On Jan 3rd, William Shatner tweeted, “@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB”
To which he replied, “@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.”
I loved reading this as I thought to myself, yes Col. Hadfield’s an astronaut and obviously a really smart and accomplished man but WOW, he’s a Trekkie! He would obviously have to be in order to be able to respond to Captain Kirk so effortlessly. I could only imagine that he was smiling from ear to ear as he answered the hailing frequency from the surface. I also could have imagined other fellow astronauts crowding around him all giddy with excitement because Captain Kirk just sent their Commander a message on Twitter.
But what topped it off for me was one of Col. Hadfield’s follow up messages about his Tweet with William Shatner saying, “I’m proud of being Canadian, but after yesterday’s twitter conversation am starting to question wearing this red shirt.” Not only was this a hilarious inside Star Trek joke, but it was accompanied by the most majestic image of Col. Hadfield on the International Space Station with his beautiful Home Planet in the background from his Space Station in a standard orbit around Earth. I loved it and immediately became a fan of Col. Hadfield and made sure to like his facebook page, which is full of breathtaking images taken by him from the Space Station, accompanied by insightful words describing each image.
But then, there were more great Tweets on January 4th, to the planet’s surface from the Space Station, the first being to George Takei, aka Mr Sulu, and the message read, “With @GeorgeTakei posting about our space comms, all we need is @TheRealNimoy to beam in and we’d have an away team! ”
More great Sci Fi humor and then came the response from George the same day, “@Cmdr_Hadfield: I’m fine with beaming down with the away team, as long as I don’t have to wear the red shirt.”
It just got better and better for me as a fan reading these Tweets and I thought to myself, What fun and what a great way to remind people about Space, science, the Space Program and how good life is when you are a Nerd! And I mean that in the best possible sense!
Then, another Tweet from a television space cadet, Wil Wheaton, aka Wesley Crusher, who I love and I am a big fan of and he had this to say to the soon to be Commander of the International Space Station on January 4th, “@Cmdr_Hadfield If you get into trouble with Nanites while you’re in orbit, I know a guy who can help you contain them. He has experience.” I can only imagine he was talking about either the Enterprise Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge or his buddy and fellow International Space Station resident, Howard Wolowitz of Big Bang Fame.
And yet again we see how good they grow sci fi enthusiasts in Canada with Col. Hadfield responding to Wil Wheaton the next day January 5th, saying, “@wilw Wesley, we’ve talked about you being on the bridge. I believe you’re needed in Engineering. ” As Alf would say, HAAAAAAAA . . . ! Col. Hadfield knows not only his classic Star Trek, but the Next Generation as well. Awesome!!!
And the Tweets from our beautiful blue planet continued with another real life Space Man, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, sending Col. Hadfield his own Tweet on January 4th, saying, “@Cmdr_Hadfield @WilliamShatner Neil & I would’ve tweeted from the moon if we could have but I would prefer to tweet from Mars. Maybe by 2040.”
Now here is an iconic legend getting in on the fun, easily fits in with this crowd and gives us all a great thought to ponder, Mars by 2040! I love it and from your lips to Humanity’s ears Mr. Aldrin, I hope and pray to the Lords of Kobol that I am around to see it!
At this point, who could possibly top a Tweet like that from Buzz Aldrin and all the rest, but sure enough, on January 5th, Col. Hadfield received the following Tweet from none other than Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock himself, which read simply, “LLAP” (Live Long and Prosper)
I can only imagine the child, Geek and Star Trek fan inside of Canada’s most famous space explorer going wild with enthusiasm and glee after reading that Tweet. So this is what Col. Hadfield replied later on January 5th, “I am not Spock either, but living and working in this spaceship comes pretty close. Life mirrors art. LLAP, @TheRealNimoy.”
Personally when I was about to meet Leonard Nimoy I did not know what to say and I am sure whatever I said was something he had heard a thousand times, but all I can say is that Col. Hadfield captured it perfectly! With one exception, as I feel it is my duty to correct Col. Hadfield if I may be so bold. The appropriate response to the standard Vulcan greeting of “Live Long and Prosper” is “Peace and Long Life”. But I think that with all the pressure on Col. Hadfield to send a great Tweet response to a fellow and immensely famous space man, the Geek community can forgive him this one transgression. Great work sir, continue in standard orbit and Live Long and Prosper!
Written By: Tye Bourdony
Tye Bourdony is a Sci Fi cartoonist and creator of ‘The Lighter Side of Sci-Fi’, a mediator and science fiction reporter. He is also a graduate of the Barry University School of Law, SUNY Purchase and H.S. of Music & Art. Tye currently works in Florida’s 9th Circuit as the staff Divorce Mediator and has a regular self-published column in Sci Fi Magazine. You can visit Tye on facebook and www.thelightersideofscifi.com.