Posted 20 hours ago

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

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Chris shows how this unique education comes into play with dramatic anecdotes about going blind during a spacewalk, getting rid of a live snake while piloting a plane, and docking with space station Mir when laser tracking systems fail at the critical moment. In 2013, he served as Commander of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth during a five-month mission. If you, like me, are not one of the 536 people (November 2013) who have been into space but dreamed of being an astronaut (Poor eyesight blew it for me, at least that's what I tell myself) or wondered what it would be like to be an astronaut then this is about as close as you are going to get. Afterward, a doctor took swabs of all parts of my body - behind my ears, my tongue, my crotch - to see if I had any infections, then rubbed me down with alcohol just in case I did. Since first reading it in 2014 I have bought multiple copies for others, and have found that I often quote the concept of being a +1 that Chris Hadfield discussed in this book.

Very quickly, though, the warmth of unity morphs to the sourness of resentment which makes hardships seem even more intolerable and doesn’t help get the job done. The environment is also highly competitive, without the competition ever being explicitly acknowledged. Because it started to feel a bit like an episode of Horizon with a little too much repetition and a fair bit of 'I'm going to tell you something really interesting later on'.

I hate sci-fi and science, so I was pleased that this didn’t linger too much on those fronts at all.

I think it will be most applicable to the engineering/scientist type mindset, just like Chris himself. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.This is a very enjoyable listen for anyone interested in the space program and that side of science and engineering in general and I really appreciated the detail that Hadfield puts into this side of things in the book. While this did not feel like my finest hour in space exploration, it was definitely preferable to soiling my diaper the next day. The book is very good, especially for anyone interested in the life of the modern day astronaut, and wants to delve deeper than simply knowing what it is like to take off and walk in space. A certain personality type that was perfectly acceptable, even stereotypical, in the past - the real hard-ass, say - is not wanted on the voyage when it is going to be a long one. There is a lot of rocket talk, and talk about what it is like to live without gravity on a space station.

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