An astronaut's guide to life on Earth

The first Canadian to walk in space reflects on an adventurous career.

An astronaut's guide to life on Earth
Chris Hadfield, Pan Macmillan (2013), RRP $32.99

Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space. His dream of breaking Earth’s bonds began as a child watching Neil Armstrong’s great leap. The pinnacle of his career came this year as commander of the 35th Expedition to the International Space Station.

This charming account of his career gives a glimpse into what it is like to leave the Earth and test one of the last barriers left to mankind. Hadfield is an accomplished communicator, becoming a familiar name through his Tweets and Facebook posts from space.

It works well, too, as a reality check for dreamers. The detailed description of the years of preparation and training that goes to make an astronaut is sobering. Reduced to its most basic equation, Hadfield spent 30 years training for a total of 166 days in space. My only quibble is hinted at by the title. The “guide to life on Earth” part too often descends into self-help-style cliché. But the part that pertains to “an astronaut’s life” is a wonderful read for all of us couch-bound space adventurers.

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