Science fic­tion ig­nites minds

Cana­dian as­tro­naut Chris Had­field be­lieves dream­ing the im­pos­si­ble makes it hap­pen, writes Louise Richard­son

Daily Mercury - - GUIDE -

SCIENCE fic­tion is be­com­ing science fact; the un­fath­omable be­com­ing re­al­ity.

Cana­dian as­tro­naut Colonel Chris Had­field says he is proof of that.

“When I was born, no one had ever been in space. It wasn’t hard to fly in space when I was born – it was im­pos­si­ble,” he tells The Guide.

Col Had­field was first in­spired to think about space travel when read­ing science fic­tion comics and nov­els as a boy, and watch­ing films and TV shows.

“And then the race to the moon. I turned 10 the sum­mer that the first two peo­ple walked on the moon and that was as piv­otal as any­thing,” he says.

“The fact that this re­ally hap­pens now, this isn’t just a child­hood crazi­ness but this is an ac­tual fact, some­thing that other peo­ple do, that’s re­ally what in­spired me and made me want to ex­plore it my­self.”

Col Had­field has since been on three space mis­sions, and on his last voy­age be­came the first Cana­dian to com­mand a space­ship on board the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion.

He was also the first per­son to record a mu­sic video in space, and he is per­haps best known for his ren­di­tion of David Bowie’s Space Od­dity, filmed while float­ing through the space­ship in 2013.

Col Had­field says the film clip helped him share his ex­pe­ri­ence in space with more peo­ple, some­thing he be­lieves is a “fun­da­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity and obli­ga­tion of the job” as an as­tro­naut.

Who knows, he might in­spire some­one who goes on to dis­cover life in outer space, some­thing he says could be achiev­able within the next gen­er­a­tion.

“I think it’s im­por­tant if you’re a young per­son now dream­ing of what it is you want to do in the fu­ture, to recog­nise that im­pos­si­ble things hap­pen as the re­sult of an out­landish science fic­tion kind of vi­sion of the fu­ture and an enor­mous amount of per­sonal and co­op­er­a­tive, col­lec­tive work,” Col Had­field says.

The re­tired as­tro­naut shares his pas­sion for space ex­plo­ration on The Truth is in the Stars, a doc­u­men­tary led by Star Trek’s orig­i­nal Cap­tain Kirk, Wil­liam Shat­ner, which looks at how the show in­flu­enced pop­u­lar cul­ture and hu­man in­no­va­tion.

“Star Trek was very im­por­tant to me as a kid, as an em­bod­i­ment of an idea of a fu­ture that might well be,” Col Had­field says. “We’re not that far away from a lot of the things that Star Trek imag­ined, and I think peo­ple need to see the link be­tween fan­tasy and re­al­ity and that it‘s our own cre­ativ­ity that al­lows the two to marry up.”

THE TRUTH IS IN THE STARS – DIS­COV­ERY SCIENCE – SUN­DAY AT 7.30PM QLD, 8.30PM NSW

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