Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who today took command of the International Space Station, has, in the last few months, added thrust to science’s rising draw of public interest. Over half a million people are following his twitter page where he posts daily the photos he takes as he gazes down towards Earth. He has done a great service to science with his often poetic reflections on life aboard the ISS and his enthusiasm for communication and teaching. His pictures can be strikingly beautiful and his reflections equally moving. Below I include a link to his twitter account and was prompted to write this post after reading his responses to frequently asked questions that he posted today, an excerpt from which I include below.
“Question: How can a young person get into this field?
Answer: Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.
It takes: physical fitness to the highest standard, an advanced technical degree, and a proven ability to make good decisions when consequences matter. Then apply to the space agency of your country, and compete with the thousands who also want to fly in space.”