10 things you probably don’t know about Chris Hadfield

The Canadian astronaut and author spoke with Sarah Treleaven to share everything from his must-have item in space to the last time he cried.


Photo by Sian Richards

I had the pleasure of meeting with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield – and his charming wife, Helene – when they were on the publicity circuit for Hadfield’s new book: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. Hadfield was the first Canadian to both walk in space and command the international space station. But despite his embrace of social media – he kept us earthlings constantly apprised of his space activities through Twitter and Skype – there are probably a lot of things you don’t know about Hadfield. On a recent, sunny afternoon in Toronto, I got personal with Canada’s favourite, now-retired astronaut.

Q: When was the last time you cried?

A: On orbit while listening to evocative music.

Q: What’s your favourite way to relax?

A: Playing guitar.

Q: What’s your favourite thing for you and Helene to do together?

A: Crossword puzzles on a Sunday morning after a walk on the beach.

Q: What’s the last book you read?

A: Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott.

Q: What’s the best dish you can cook?

A: Apple pie – but I’m as happy with a peanut butter sandwich as I am [with a meal] at The French Laundry.

Q: How would you describe your style in high school?

A: Cool nerd. [Prompted by Helene.]

Q: What’s your favourite place you’ve traveled to other than space?

A: The reef off of Andros Island [in the Bahamas] where I went diving with my kids.

Q: If you weren’t an astronaut, what would you be?

A: A test pilot or a professor.

Q: What’s the one thing you can’t live without in space or a must-pack item?

A: Oxygen? And I always bring music.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about retirement?

A: Everything.


Get more: What it’s like being married to astronaut Chris Hadfield, plus a video of wife Helene Hadfield on her thoughts about marriage, being an astronaut’s wife and what it’s like now that Chris has retired.