independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Astronaut Chris Hadfield: 'I wouldn't go to Mars without my wife and dog'

ON SONG: Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, right, performs 'Moondance' with the Chieftains at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

WORLD famous astronaut Chris Hadfield says he would take his wife and dog to Mars. if he was going only one-way.

The retired Canadian astronaut, who became a sensation here by tweeting pictures of Ireland and messages in Irish from space this year, touched down in Dublin this weekend where he was reunited on the ground with the Chieftains to perform Van Morrison's hit 'Moondance'. Ireland has a very special place in his heart as his daughter, Kristin, studies psychology in Trinity.

"If I were going one-way, I'd want to take my wife and perhaps my dog. I think we'd have a nice time. If you're going one way, what you're doing in fact is emigrating," the astronaut told the Sunday Independent about travelling to Mars.

He had previously revealed that he would welcome the opportunity to visit the red planet but as it stands, once you arrive, you cannot leave.

The opportunity may never present itself to him in this lifetime though as he believes "we're a long way from Mars, it's a lot harder and further than people think".

Speaking earlier at the Science Gallery at Trinity College yesterday to an assembled audience of 100 or so, he said that with 80 billion earth-like planets out there "there's got to be life in other universes, and to think we're the only ones is highly self-important".

The trained fighter pilot, whose great-grandfather fought in both World Wars, thinks that if we understood the delicacy of the earth and how "we're all in this together, we're all crew on the same space ship", we'd see conflict -- be it a family row or an international war -- very differently.

He told the Sunday Independent: "The hard part for people is that we all have transient, petty objectives, but at the end of the day we all want the same things out of life for ourselves and our families."

The astronaut, who suffers from a fear of heights and went temporarily blind on his first spacewalk, revealed he was just nine years old when he made a private "resolution" to get into space.

Hadfield was in Ireland promoting his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, which sold out in Eason on O'Connell Street where he was signing copies with hundreds of fans queuing around the corner on to Abbey Street.

The astronaut also recorded an interview with Newstalk in Trinity yesterday as well as an exclusive performance with the Chieftains, which will be broadcast tomorrow between 7am and 10am. You can also listen to the interview on the station's website, www.newstalk.ie.

Irish Independent

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