Col. Chris Hadfield relinquished command of the International Space Station on May 13 and retired from his Canadian Space Agency astronaut career of 21 years. With his boundless passion for sharing his experiences with the world, it seemed that the Ontario native spent a lot more than 5 months in orbit. On Tuesday, Discovery News announced that Hadfield is our DNews Person of the Year as he was able to communicate what it's like to live in space through a myriad of social media platforms, ultimately inspiring the public by his very unique experiences. Here are just a few of his most memorable moments from his final mission into space: Expedition 35.
Seen here on Dec. 21, 2012, Hadfield arrives at the space station, greeted by Russian cosmonauts Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitskiy.
Liquid water in microgravity is a lot of fun, a fact that Chris Hadfield took to heart during his residency on the space station. Shown here, Hadfield is pictured in the obligatory space-water-globule-in-front-of-an-astronaut's-face pose.
Speaking of water, Hadfield used the microgravity opportunity to teach the world a little about how common tasks on the ground bear little resemblance to the same tasks performed in space. As part of a student competition, Hadfield tested the winning experiment suggestion: wringing out a wet washcloth in space. Few would have guessed what happened next...
On March 28, the new space station commander took this stunning photo of a launching Russian Soyuz rocket as the station passed over Kazakhstan. Hadfield tweeted this photo with the words: "Tonight's Finale: Soyuz Rocket Launch — the moment of ignition, as seen from their target, the Space Station." On board the Soyuz was the remaining Expedition 35 crew: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Pavel Vinogradov.
Cementing his fame in spaceflight history, Chris Hadfield (with the help of his friends and family on the ground) became the first person to produce a music video in space: a cover of David Bowie's classic "Space Oddity."
But it wasn't all about social media, playing music and admiring the sights -- the vast majority of the time Hadfield was working on experiments and managing the complex orbiting laboratory. Seen here, the Canadian astronaut is a lab guinea pig, participating in the Blood Pressure Regulation Experiment (BP Reg) -- one of the many medical experiments that are essential in learning how the human physiology reacts to long-duration spaceflight.
On March 3, Hadfield oversaw the successful berthing of the robotic SpaceX Dragon resupply vehicle, using the space station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to grab onto the second commercial delivery to the orbiting outpost. Coincidentally, Hadfield first rose to fame when, in 2001, he became the first Canadian to carry out a spacewalk, helping to install that same Canadarm2.
Hadfield was thrilled to find fresh fruit on board the SpaceX delivery.
In May, space station business got serious when the astronauts discovered an ammonia leak from the coolant system. Outside, the crew could see flakes of the coolant floating off into space. As space station commander, Hadfield helped formulate a plan to find a fix, eventually overseeing a dramatic emergency spacewalk by NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn. After the suspected faulty ammonia pump was replaced, Hadfield tweeted: "No leaks! We’re bringing Tom & Chris back inside. In two days Tom, Roman & I return to Earth in our Soyuz. This is an amazing place & time."
Like most astronauts who spend time on the space station, photography becomes more than just a hobby; the views afforded to us on the ground by the astronauts in orbit have given us a very privileged view over our planet. At his estimate, Hadfield took around 45,000 photos while in space, each one a gem. Here is Hadfield in the station's windowed cupola where many of the most breathtaking shots were made possible.
On Feb 7, Hadfield tweeted this strange feature: "The Taranaki Volcano looks too perfect to be real. pic.twitter.com/3b5fr4IQ"
On April 14, Chris Hadfield posted this odd view of a Brazilian river, lightheartedly tweeting: "I'm used to rivers that know what they're doing. pic.twitter.com/41iOcuZmth" The meandering form of the river is created through many years, decades and centuries of erosion, creating isolated Oxbow Lakes as each meander gets cut off.
While orbiting Earth, Hadfield developed a feeling of "oneness" -- a sentiment that was underscored when he reflected on a photo he took of Syria. During a videoed interview, Hadfield commented on the Syrian conflict, saying: "If people, I think, could see the perspective more clearly... (they would glean) that understanding of the fact that we're all in this together. Yes, there's important territorial issues and important personal issues but at the same time with increased communication and with increased understanding comes a more global perspective,"
Chris Hadfield also captured some cool geological events from orbit, including an eruption of the Italian Mt. Etna on Feb. 28.
On May 13, shortly before his return to Earth, Hadfield tweeted this stunning photo of the sun poking over the Earth's limb, tweeting: "Spaceflight finale: To some this may look like a sunset. But it's a new dawn. pic.twitter.com/iVgyUihqEN"