Thursday, February 7, 2013

Captain Kirk calls the Space Station


My brain asploded before I even finished my morning tea. William Shatner, known primarily for playing Captain Kirk on Star Trek (1966-1969) and in various Trek franchise films (1979-1994), called the International Space Station to speak to the Expedition 34 crew commander

Commander Hadfield on Twitter

It all started on January 3rd when Shatner and astronaut Chris Hadfield had a brief, casual exchange on Twitter -- which darn near blew up the Interwebz that day.  The best-known fictional Space Captain and the real-life Space Commander? It was all too magical.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) immediately pounced, and planned an event for the two to converse live! Members of the public, various scientists and Tweetup media applicants convened in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, and were treated to a 13-minute person-to-person call.

Chris Hadfield on Twitter

William Shatner is a native of Montréal, Quebec and Christopher Hadfield hails from Sarnia, Ontario. About halfway through their conversation, Hadfield invited the famed actor to visit his cottage in the latter locale -- one hopes not in winter.

It was -18C in Saint-Hubert this morning at the CSA HQ, but that deterred precisely none of the invited attendees.  After their oft-serious but momentarily humorous exchange, Captain Kirk signed off, whereby Commander Hadfield conducted Q&A for the enraptured audience, answering queries in both English and French.

William Shatner on Twitter

You should have seen me scrambling for the screenshot keys when I suddenly watched my travel-buddy Rob Drysdale walk to the microphone and ask Chris a question!  WAY cool! Some of you may remember Rob from when we traipsed around Bruxelles and Genk while enjoying last year's SpaceUp EU conference in Belgium.

A couple thousand people joined the CSA on Ustream for all this awesomeness, but it was over all too soon.  Of course, time in low Earth orbit is precious, expensive, and timed very precisely. Hadfield had to get back to work on his science experiments, which were then detailed to the crowd by various speakers.

Canadian Astronaut Twitter

Canadian astronaut-in-training Jeremy Hansen was also on hand to handle introductions and technical descriptions of space life. The program then featured presentations about space radiation shielding and exercise physiology -- both very important for future long-duration missions in terms of keeping astronauts healthy in space.

For the video recap, please... look pretty much anywhere on the internet today, LOL... but my favorite video spot is Jason Major's Lights In The Dark blog.

You can also follow all these esteemed Canadians at @Astro_Jeremy, @Cmdr_Hadfield and @WilliamShatner.