Science & Tech
Bonus Chapter: Chris's Journey
Lesson time 24:01 min
Chris tells his personal story of becoming an astronaut and gives advice for achieving your goals—no matter where life takes you.
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Topics include: Chris's Journey
Teaches Space Exploration
The former commander of the International Space Station teaches you the science of space exploration and what the future holds.Sign Up
I was originally inspired by science fiction. Reading Asimov and reading Arthur C. Clarke, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and some of the great science fiction authors, they revealed a world that didn't exist yet. They sort of gave me as a young person the permission to imagine something that hadn't happened yet. They gave me the permission to imagine myself as someone that I hadn't yet turned myself into. And I think that's really important growing up, to give yourself room to imagine things that haven't happened yet. But I was also lucky that it wasn't all just fantasy. At the same time that I was reading all of those science fiction books, people for the very first time were starting to fly in space. With Gagarin in 1961, and then-- and then the race to the moon all culminating in the summer of '69. And just about the time that I was becoming aware of the world at nine years old, that's when Apollo 11 happened and this combination of fantasy and reality suddenly came together for this little kid living in Canada. And that's-- that's very much not only where the idea formed, but where I could resolve myself maybe to thinking that I could do that-- it wasn't just a fantasy, but if Neil and Buzz could walk on the moon-- and this had all happened just in my lifetime, then maybe I could do something like that as well. The combination of fantasy and reality gave me permission to start changing who I was. When I decided to turn myself into an astronaut, it wasn't hard, it was impossible, by definition. There were no Canadian astronauts, there was no Canadian Space Agency. There was no way from where I was to what I was dreaming of doing. But I looked at the fact that it used to be impossible to fly in space at all, and it sure was impossible to walk on the moon, and yet those things had happened. So even though it was currently impossible, what I learned from Apollo 11 was that things change, and that impossible things happen. That's a really important lesson to learn no matter what stage of life you're at, but especially at nine or 10 years old, impossible things happen. And I don't just mean like, you know, lottery tickets and lightning strikes, but I just reminded myself, well, when I was born, no one had ever flown in space, this is still a new thing. And when Neil Armstrong was born, the word astronaut didn't even exist. So things change. So let's be patient, and let's just start working on who I am. The choices that I made to become an astronaut were to go to university to study mechanical engineering, and then plan to go on to do a master's degree. Take every opportunity that ever comes. If there's a chance to ever get someone else to pay for your education, take them up on it. If someone is willing to teach you something, especially for free, get them to. Information and knowledge is just freedom to choose things. The more you know, the more free you are to make an informed choice in your life. So never miss an opportunity ...
About the Instructor
Impossible things happen. At age nine, Chris Hadfield knew he wanted to go to space. He eventually went there three times, becoming a commander of the International Space Station. In his MasterClass, Chris teaches you what it takes to explore space and what the future holds for humans in the final frontier. Learn about the science of space travel, life as an astronaut, and how flying in space will forever change the way you think about living on Earth.
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The former commander of the International Space Station teaches you the science of space exploration and what the future holds.Explore the Class