I am a happily married middle-aged woman who should know better, but dammit I have a full-blown giggling girlie crush on an astronaut, I strongly suspect I am not alone.
For the past few months, quietly-spoken Canadian Commander Chris Hadfield has thrilled the world with Tweets, broadcasts and You Tube uploads from the International Space Station. In and among the day job of being a real live spaceman, he has skilfully harnessed social media so the rest of us back on Earth can look, learn, marvel and in my case sigh and flutter my eyelashes like I did when I was a teenager in love with Donny Osmond.
As well as Tweeting astonishing photographs of the world as he passed over, he gave an insight into the science of the space station and demonstrated dozens of day-to-day activities such as brushing his teeth, washing, getting sick (eww), fire safety and how to control the ISS as it circles above at 17,500mph. He encouraged people to ask him anything via Twitter, which they duly did.
And if being a pilot, astronaut, mission specialist and all-round clever guy wasn’t enough, he’s a rather good musician, somehow managing to get his guitar into the Soyuz transport then the ISS itself. He made the first ever recording in space of Jewel in the Night, a song he wrote. He also sang along with students, a kind of out-of-this-world concert. What a guy. WHAT A GUY!
His finale before he left the ISS, hopefully to return soon and thrill us again was an out-of-this-world rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, which has gone viral.
When he came back to Earth with a bump earlier today, it was to a worldwide welcome from the many admirers he has gained since he arrived at the ISS in December. He has so many invitations to visit the places he has photographed, I certainly hope he’ll take up ours to come to Leeds and join us for a Saturday morning parkrun, I’ll bet he’s a great runner too, sigh…… I have a mental picture of him coming first in the 5km run, then joining us all for coffee and cake afterwards, how could he refuse?
Of course my girlie crush is just that, Noel, who wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up, says he understands. Though personally he confesses he’s more of a Buzz Aldrin man, far less showy!