Some pretty illustrious people have participated in Reddit’s IAmA sessions during the past few months, but Sunday may have seen the most bizarre -- and interesting -- question-and-answer session in the feature’s history as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield replied to queries while in low Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station.
Representing the Canadian Space Agency, Hadfield has been on the ISS since December. On Sunday, he has been answering questions in an effort to educate online users about the station in particular and to raise awareness of space exploration in general. He gave out some incredibly interesting facts, such as that the ISS orbits Earth 16 times a day.
Below are some of the best exchanges during Hadfield’s IAmA Q-and-A session on Reddit.
In the highest-rated comment during the session, user ken27238 asked Hadfield about the specifics of his Internet connection on the ISS. Hadfield's reply points to how amazingly how far telecommunications has come in recent years.
“My laptop here onboard communicates to a server in Houston via satellite relay, and that server on the ground is hooked through a computer to the Internet. The data rate is very slow, not fast enough to watch video, but perfect for things like Reddit and Twitter. We have the data link about half the time,” Hadfield wrote.
“No Skype,” Hadfield continued, “but when we have the right communications links, I can directly access the Internet in Mission Control, Houston, and tweet and do this AMA real-time. We have that link many times, every day. It's a great capability to have, really lets the crew keep in touch.”
In an extremely adorable exchange, user overexcitedangrymom posted a picture of her daughter, who was holding a sign asking when humans are going back to the moon. The user explained that her daughter was incredibly interested in space travel and wanted to become an astronaut.
Hadfield then gave some pretty good advice on how to achieve that dream.
“To be an astronaut. you have to be healthy (eat your greens and exercise), smart (do your homework), and trustworthy (do your jobs well). Then you get the suit and rocket,” Hadfield wrote.
In response to a joking suggestion that Hadfield should "quit throwing rocks at Russia," the astronaut said that he was unfortunately unable to see the Russian meteor enter the atmosphere: “We didn't see the meteorite that did all the damage in Russia, as we were on the other side of the Earth. But I see small ones burn up between ISS and the Earth every day.”
Hadfield also said he believes privitization will drive the future of space exploration and experimentation: “Privatization is the right and natural way to go, and we are on the cusp of it now. We have a Space X Dragon coming to ISS in 2 weeks, we'll grab it with Canadarm2.”
In one of the most hilarious moments of the session, user AngusTurn asked Hadfield, “If you look at porn in space, do you get ads about hot single girls in lower earths orbit?” Unfortunately for all of us, Hadfield refused to answer, although it’s not hard to imagine why.
Check out more of Hadfield’s amazing Q-and-A for yourself on Reddit.