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Fri, Feb 08, 2013

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Interviewed By Captain Kirk

Linked Up Through The Canadian Space Agency With Actor William Shatner

It began with an exchange on Twitter last month between Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on the 1960's television series Star Trek. As part of the exchange, Shatner, who was born in Canada, was invited to visit the Canadian Space Agency for a telephone conversation with the astronaut.

Well, Shatner didn't exactly beam over to the space agency headquarters for the exchange, but Thursday morning, he did speak by telephone with Hadfield in an event that was webcast by the Canadian Space Agency. Shatner, who has hosted a talk show on cable television called "Shatner's Raw Nerve," put on his interviewer hat with the astronaut, asking questions ranging from how the former test pilot-turned-astronaut deals with fear to the future of the U.S. space program.

Hadfield was diplomatic about that latter topic, saying there has been a "lull" between every major U.S. space effort from Mercury to the Shuttle. He had nothing but good things to say about the Soyuz vehicle that transported him to the station, and talked about each space mission regardless of its country of origin as being a test flight of sorts. He also said his years as a test pilot were far more dangerous than his current assignment. "I lost one good friend a year while I was testing high-performance aircraft," he said. On the subject of fear, Hadfield said his greatest concern is "not knowing what to do next" in any given situation, and likened it to an actor forgetting his or her lines on stage. Shatner said when he forgot lines, he got red-faced and broke into a flop sweat, but "in your case, you burn up." Hadfield responded that he supposed "in both cases you go down in flames, one's figurative and one is not."

At the end of the conversation, Hadfield invited Shatner to his cabin in Ontario "for a whiskey and a cigar" to discuss the greater meaning of space flight, and longer-term missions beyond low earth orbit. Shatner said he knew the area well, and would be pleased to join the astronaut on his porch for such a conversation.

We want to go too.

(Image captured from Canadian Space Agency webcast)

FMI: www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng

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