Astronaut Chris Hadfield adjusts to 'earthling' life
After 5 months in space, 'just holding my head up is a bizarre new experience'
Canada's space ambassador, Chris Hadfield, is still readapting to life on this planet after spending 146 days in zero gravity as commander of the International Space Station. For now, though, he's taking his homecoming one step at a time.
"Just learning to walk — that's enough," Hadfield said of the "bizarre" experience of being back on Earth after five months in outer space.
"Just holding my head up is a bizarre new experience. I haven't had to hold my head on top of my neck for five months. I've been living in a cave. I haven't had the sun in my skin for five months," he told CBC News via Skype from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tx.
"[I'm] just trying to readapt myself and get myself back to being an earthling again after what was just a magnificient human experience," he added.
The Canadian astronaut with a deft touch at social media also spoke about his newfound Twitter fame since his mission as part of the crew of Expedition 35 began last December.
'Learning to walk'
Hadfield, who now has nearly a million followers on Twitter, said the huge social-media interest generated by his posts "took on a life of its own."
"As soon as I started taking pictures of the world in real time, showing people the brushfires going on in the Outback of Australia or Mount Etna erupting or just the city lights of a big city, it immediately touched this huge internationally resonating chord that social media allowed to feed back to me," he said.
As for his thoughts on the future of the Canadian Space Agency, which faces budget cuts and sweeping changes to the program, Hadfield said the outlook still looks promising, noting that having a Canadian command the ISS is an achievement that he knows other young Canadians aspire for some day.
"That's been my job for the last 21 years as an astronaut is to help us get to this stage and keep the doors open for the future," he said.
For the time being, though, he's focusing on his personal physical rehabilitation after his muscles atrophied from underuse.
"I'm just learning to walk. Really, truly, I'm learning to walk again," he said. "It's difficult."