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Science & Tech

Conclusion: The Future of Exploration

Chris Hadfield

Lesson time 11:23 min

In his parting words, Chris reflects on the cyclical nature of human exploration and Earth’s place in outer space.

Chris Hadfield
Teaches Space Exploration
The former commander of the International Space Station teaches you the science of space exploration and what the future holds.


Exploration is our history. It's the legacy that got us to where we are, and it's always been that way. We live someplace for a while, and then either the conditions are good enough or desperate enough that some of us leave and go somewhere else and explore. And once we've explored a bunch of places, then we say, you know what? Some of us are going to go from here to that place, because it looked interesting. It looked worth going to. And we start settling somewhere else. And we've been doing that for thousands and thousands of years all around the planet. I think our latest guess is the native peoples of Australia got there like 70,000 years ago. But some parts of the world we've just very recently got to. The very first human beings only got to New Zealand like 750 or 800 years ago. No human had gotten that far. That's not very many generations. The first of us to get to Antarctica-- that was only really one long human lifetime ago, just a little over 100 years ago. And we've only been going to space for just a little over 50 years. The pattern has always been explore, understand, choose, and then maybe go and settle sometime later. And we've been exploring space for most of my lifetime. We've been looking around, seeing. We've even sent probes beyond Pluto now-- right outside our solar system, in fact, with Voyager. But we decided about 30 years ago that the place we should settle first in space is orbiting the world. We should build a permanent habitation as a species-- not just one country, but as a lot of leading nations in the world. Let's colonize space, and we built the International Space Station. And starting in the fall of 2000, we started permanently living off the Earth. We went through that exact same pattern of exploring, thinking, choosing, and then starting to settle in a new place. And we will go from the space station where we're testing equipment right now that keeps us safer eventually to the moon-- the moon, I think, pretty soon. And then from the moon, we'll have learned enough things and tested. And just like all our forebearers did, we can go further. We can go as far as Mars. We have a lot of stuff to learn. We have to invent stuff we haven't even realized we need to invent yet, but I'm not impatient. I'm delighted. We're doing stuff that was impossible when I was a kid that no human had ever done. We have six of us permanently living off the planet right now, and we sort of take that for granted. It's good that we're impatient. It helps drive us to do things we've never done before. I think it's just a continuation of the fact that we are explorers, and our technology is just good enough now that we can be space explorers. I sure can't speak for everybody else. In my particular limited view of the world, you get given one set of capabilities-- this body, this brain, this particular combination of capabilities to do things. And to squander it-- to not do what you're capable of doing, to no...

Explore the unknown

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.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Unbelievable experience listening to Chris and his story! Definitely a Masterclass everybody can learn something from!

i got a small but rather big glimpse in this unique field! thank you!

It was truly fascinating learning about space exploration. It really is a rare look into a unique experience.

I learned so much! Not only about the science of space travel but abut perusing dreams and how to accomplish them. Hadfield is a compelling speaker.



Quick update from MasterClass, you should now be able to access the full class - so sorry for that inconvenience!

Dan E.

Visually beautiful, and words spoken with such passion and humility...not to mention profound closing words. One of the most enjoyable classes I've joined so far - thank you MC and Chris!

Rolf G.

Simply stunning! Chris is very inspirational, informative and a pure joy to listen to. I'm not by any means an astronaut, but everything he said touched me deep within. Thank you Masterclass for providing awesome content like this.

Planck Q.

Allow yourself the freedom of the pursuit of your own dreams. --Chris Hadfield

Steven H.

I have had the privilege of seeing Chris Hadfield speak twice and what strikes me the most is the ability to distill such incredible experiences into something relatable to any person sitting at home. In both speeches he sought out questions from children in the audience above anyone else. Chris Hadfield wants to inspire the youth, the future, to look up and wonder. Thank you for answering my son's question Chris it is something he will always remember.

A fellow student

Thank you Chris for sharing such an amazing and inspiring journey. Today, I watched history made in the first private, manned space launch. I also finished your Masterclass. You have given a great gift to the world sharing insights that so very few could. And you did a very good job of it.


Mr. Hadfield is a dreamer and an optimist. And it is refreshing. I was educated, and entertained. During no other MasterClass, have I spent so many hours pausing the lessons to Google things. I think that the world needs to get to the moon yesterday. We are destroying our own planet at a rapid pace. As long as the rest of the world has the same attitude as the Americans or Russians, then any country is welcome to come along. But we have to get it done, soon. Not just the psychology of those manning a Moon based station, there are many valid new experiments and machines to test. It's overdue, and time is just ticking away... So I found this to be a thought provoking class.

A fellow student

Thought-provoking! Could have gone a bit more into depth but I still thoroughly enjoyed this class. Thank you Colonel Hadfield.

Kenneth S.

This was less of a class and more of a performance. Inspiring, yes. But where do we go from here. I fear that this may be indicative of our current social environment in general. Everyone is "geared up" to do "something", but no path is provided. And in many instances, the one that simply asks "how?" or questions "at what cost?" is demonized.

William D.

I've been extremely disappointed in this entire class and feel like it was misrepresented. I expected a "Master" class or graduate level experience. Instead I was given a "grade" school level lecture. IF this had been advertised as "Sit down with Chris Hadfield, with a bottle of your favorite tipple, and listen to him give you his space philosophy" I would have lowered my expectations accordingly. I will not recommend this to anyone with a "space geek" background.