* Hadfield to be first Canadian space station commander
* Arrived at orbital outpost in December
* Uses Twitter to share high-tech journey
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Jan 10 Like many people,
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield confesses that he's sometimes
clumsy in the morning just after waking up.
The three-time astronaut, now living aboard the
International Space Station, was surprised to learn that did not
change in the weightless environment of space.
"When I come out of my sleeping berth to go into our galley
and our bathroom, I bump into things even though I'm floating
weightless," the 53-year-old pilot told reporters during an
in-flight press conference on Thursday.
"You can still have the morning clumsies up here and that
surprised me," said Hadfield, who is in line to become the first
Canadian commander of the orbital outpost in March.
Hadfield has been sharing his experiences in orbit with a
growing flock of Twitter followers. His "Cmdr_Hadfield" Twitter
account has added more than 130,000 new subscribers since the
astronaut blasted off on Dec. 19 for a six-month stay on the
"What we're doing on the space station is fundamentally
fascinating ... It encapsulates where we are in history, with
people permanently living off Earth. With these new technologies
and communications, we can directly give people the human side
of that," said Hadfield, who now has more than 163,000
In between Twitter posts about false fire alarms and fixing
the station's toilet, Hadfield has been sharing photographs
taken from his unique vantage point 250 miles (500 km) above
His favorite subject so far has been so-called noctilucent,
or "night shining" clouds that form at the outermost edge of
These tenuous patches of ice crystals are barely visible
from the planet's surface, but sparkle clearly in orbit,
"The light bounces off of those clouds directly into our
eyes," he said.
In addition to the beautiful colors, textures and ripples,
Hadfield said the clouds also are a way to monitor changes in
the atmosphere and learn more about how the atmosphere
interacts with space.
That vantage point from orbit extends beyond visual
perception, he added.
"The world just unrolls itself for you, and you see it
absolutely discretely as one place. It's hard to reconcile the
inherent patience and beauty of the world with the terrible
things that we can do to each other as people and can do to the
Earth itself," Hadfield said.
"With increased communication, with increased understanding
comes a more global perspective and it's one that we feel
incredibly honored to see directly and one that we do our best
to try to pass on to everybody," he said.
(Editing by Tom Brown and Dan Grebler)