Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield Makes First Music Video In Space

It’s official. We Canadians rock. If William Shatner and Bryan Adams aren’t enough for you, there’s Chris Hadfield. He’s an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency and has become hugely popular with his videos about life aboard the International Space Station, answering such profound questions as how to cut your nails in space.

Now Hadfield is coming home. He’s turned over command of the ISS to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and will be departing on a Soyuz module, which will land in Kazakhstan today at 10:31 p.m. EDT. As a final sendoff, he’s made the first music video in space, a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Hadfield isn’t a bad musician, and the video has beautiful visuals of him on the ISS.

Put it on full screen, sit back and enjoy. It’s a great day to be Canadian.

Video of the Day: Making tacos in space

Preparing your own meals while on the road can be tough. You don’t always have a proper kitchen stocked with all of the tools and appliances that you need. Ingredients can be difficult to find. Still, at least we always have gravity to help us out. Not so for astronauts. When it’s dinner time, they have to assemble their tacos in zero gravity. The last thing that anybody wants is refried beans in the ventilation system. Think of this guy and his space taco the next time you want to complain that the kitchen in your RV is too cramped.

Russian firm reveals plans for a “space hotel”

The newest hotel plans in development are far out … literally. Russian firm Orbital Technologies revealed plans for a space hotel at a conference in Moscow this week. The hotel has a predicted 2016 opening, the Daily Mail reports.

Initial data suggests that a five day stay will cost around £100,000, not counting transportation costs of £250,000+.

The “hotel” will be “far more comfortable” than the International Space Station, says Orbital CEO Sergei Kostenko, and will feature seven guests in four cabins. The hotel “pod” will occupy 706 cubic feet and feature massive windows 217 miles above earth and be accessible via Russian Soyuz rockets.

Beds will have a horizontal or vertical option as well as sealed showers.

“Our planned module inside will not remind you of the ISS,” Kostenko said. “The hotel will be aimed at wealthy individuals and people working for private companies who want to do research in space.”

Kostenko aims to have his project finished before that of Virgin exec Richard Branson.

What do you think? Would you visit the space hotel?


Space travel destination: Gliese 581g

Okay, so the name isn’t as sexy as “St. Tropez” or “Bora Bora.” But, you have to admit that “Gliese 581g” does get your imagination going. Why is this such an inspiring destination? Well, it’s the first potentially habitable planet that’s been found! You’d actually have a shot at living there. So, as talk of space travel continues to gain momentum – regardless of how much it may remain in the realm of fantasy for now – it looks like we finally have a place to go.

Gliese 581g has everything you’d want in a space destination. According to The Awl, “it’s around three earths, it’s probably not made of gas, it could conceivably hold on to an atmosphere, and it’s at the right distance from its star, Gliese 581, to have liquid water on the surface.” Get ready for a bit of extreme heat, though: “half of it may or may not be always a 70°C degree daytime and the other half, a -35°C degree night.”

The temperatures may be a bit rough, but I’d still book a ticket for this trip.

[photo by via Flickr]

Subway map for interplanetary travel

Traveling the galaxy? This handy map simplifies the solar system for you.

Well, sort of. You have to know some things about the universe. More than I know. Actually, it makes me want to learn more. How come I don’t know what Norma and Cygnus are, and that there’s an express line that runs between them?

Here’s something else I didn’t know: The first subway map of this style was London’s Tube Map and it was designed by Harry Beck, who, according to Wikipedia, “believed that passengers riding the trains weren’t too bothered about the geographical accuracy.” He was so right.

So, Mr. Arbesman’s map may not be geographically accurate, but that would be pretty tricky to represent on paper anyway, what with the whole 3-D aspect of the galaxy.

There are also now London-style maps to illustrate music (we love that the first comment on this project is “Why did you do this?” — that’s hysterical, Richard), web trends (why’s AOL so small? You made us the same size as WordPress. I mean, seriously), and my personal favorite, a subway map of all the world’s subways, overlaid on a world map.

Thanks, Brian O’Neal, for the tip about Samuel Arbesman’s killer Milky Way Transit Authority Map!