ISS commander Chris Hadfield takes to Reddit from space

Current commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield has taken to Reddit for an Ask Me Anything Q&A session from space.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

Commander Chris Hadfield of the ISS verifies his identity.
(Credit: Chris Hadfield)

Current commander of the International Space Station (ISS) Chris Hadfield has taken to Reddit for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) Q&A session from space.

We've taken a tour of the ISS with former commander Sunita Williams; gazed at it as it passed far over our heads in the night sky; and seen the first pop song recorded simultaneously from Earth and the ISS.

Its new commander, Chris Hadfield, has for the second time made an appearance on the AMA subreddit — and made the first AMA from space, answering questions about life in space, what the team does on the ISS and space exploration.

Short on time, Commander Hadfield only answered questions for an hour or two before going back to his duties on the station, but for those hours, we got to learn a lot about life in zero-g — and that Australia is seriously awesome, even from orbit.

Chiefbos: What time zone do you live by? Do you switch off the lights at "night"?

ColChrisHadfield: We live on Greenwich time, UTC, same as London, England. We shut off most lights at bedtime — it feels right to do it.

SilverSeven: You mentioned on Twitter that the ISS is peppered with meteors but has armour. Do you hear them hit? What about things like the solar panels? They look delicate.

ColChrisHadfield: Sometimes we hear pings as tiny rocks hit our spaceship, and also the creaks and snaps of expanding metal as we go in and out of sunlight. The solar panels are full of tiny holes from the micro-meteorites.

unfortunatelyhuman: Which part of the world looks the coolest from space?

ColChrisHadfield: Australia looks coolest — the colours and textures of the Outback are severely artistic. The most beautiful to me are the Bahamas, the vast glowing reefs of every shade of blue that exists.

SucculentFriend: what does space smell like? Is your sense of smell altered at all being up there?

ColChrisHadfield: The vacuum of space has no smell, but when we come in from a spacewalk the airlock smells like ozone, or gunpowder. It likely comes from the gentle offgassing of the outer metal and fabric of our suits.

mcgsgwigga: What is the scariest thing you have seen whilst in space?

ColChrisHadfield: I watched a large meteorite burn up between me and Australia, and to think of that hypersonic dumb lump of rock randomly hurtling into us instead sent a shiver up my back.

Idrialis: How hard is to sleep out there in space?

ColChrisHadfield: I love sleeping weightless. No mattress, no pillow, no sore shoulder, no hot spots. Just relax every muscle in your body and drift off to sleep.

Hands up if you desperately want to try sleeping in space now.

You can read the rest of the AMA here; and, if you have half an hour to spare, do go watch former commander Williams' tour of the ISS.