Science & Tech

Spacewalking: Space and Perspective

Chris Hadfield

Lesson time 16:15 min

What can we learn from looking down at Earth from above? Chris explains what spaceflight means for our human perspective and how we can use what we learn in space to preserve our species and planet.

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

Topics include: Make Decisions With a Global Perspective • Use Data to Heal and Protect the Earth • What Does It All Mean?


MAN: On land at Houston, y'all have a great first full day on orbit. The planning folks are going to hand it over to the rendezvous pros who will start getting you ready for tomorrow. They'll be the Orbit One team, and the next voice you hear will be Chris Hadfield's. Some of you taking this course are going to fly in space. And I think you'll find when you get there, when the engines shut off, whether you mean to or not, the first thing you're going to do is laugh. It's hilarious, it's so funny, because suddenly you're weightless. It's just-- it's like if you were sitting there right now, and imagine that you now just started floating up off your chair uncontrollably, and your hair floated up and your necklace floated up, and all the things sitting around you on the table were suddenly floating on by, weightless. It's just-- it's ridiculous. Your entire life, you've counted on gravity to control everything around you, and the moment the engine's shut off, you're suddenly irreversibly weightless. And also, you've just done a very dangerous thing, and you're now there, it's for real. And so, there's this sort of a rush of emotional relief as well, and everybody in the crew, we all just sort of laugh, like, wow, that happened, we're here, we worked hard, but we're here. And then you think, what do I want to do? And you've got all these technical things to do on the ship. You've got to check for pressure leaks. You've got to stow your helmet. You need to-- you know, there's all these things that are on your checklist that you have to do next. But what you really want to do, and I'm sure what you'll want to do if you ever get yourself in that position, is unstrap yourself from your seat and try and control your-- you're like Bambi on ice, you're this new kind of clumsy being, learning the very first steps in weightlessness-- but to get yourself to a window, to see where you just came from, to see the world in a way that you've never seen it before. It's kind of the biggest point of being there, is the perspective that it gives on ourselves, and the most in-your-face, slapping kind of chance to do that is from this new, incredibly high vantage point, to float to the window and see what the world actually looks like. When you're on a spaceship you'll find that if you look closely at the glass of the windows of the spaceship, it's got nose prints all over it because people are grabbing onto the handrail, but you just can't control yourself very well at first. You'll boink, and your nose bounces off the glass and you need to clean a little bit of oil and nose prints off the glass to be able to see beautifully. But to me, that's just a reminder of where you are, how brand new this view is of the world and how incredible it is. You see everything with nobody filtering it for you. From the altitude of a spaceship, you can see halfway across a continent. From overhead Florida, you can see all the way up to Chicago, essentially. The Great Lake...

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Chris Hadfield

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

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