Uploaded on February 15, 2013
Hadfield comments on the asteroid flyby and ISS benefits
2013-02-15 - Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Chris Hadfield spoke with University of Waterloo students live from space via a video downlink this afternoon. In this excerpt, Hadfield comments on the asteroid that will pass by Earth today as well as the benefits of the International Space Station.
(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)
Question: Hi, Chris. My name is James Allen, and my question is: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution that the International Space Station provides the world, and is asteroid watch a part of that?
Cdr Chris Hadfield: We'll be watching for the asteroid a little later today. We weren't in a position to see that meteorite do all that damage in Russia. It's going to be very hard to see the asteroid. They did the math, and it's going to be less than a pixel for us to take a picture. So we may, with a time lapse, see it go by.
But for the space station itself, of course with all the experiments going on, it's very hard to predict when an experiment will have a breakthrough. But I'm hoping that, over its 20- or 30- year life of the station, from way back in '78 - or I'm sorry, in '98 - when it was first launched, I'm hoping that there's some science that happens on here that is truly breakthrough. We sure are setting ourselves up for it. Mounted to the top is the alpha magnetic spectrometer, which is collecting matter and antimatter and high-energy particles from the university, trying to understand the fundament of what the universe is made of; studying the human physiology that you can't study on Earth when you take away gravity.
But one of the main legacies may be that, when one of you goes to Mars, you will be on a spaceship that has functioning pumps, is made of the right material, has a closed environmental system, recycling water and air, has all the systems that work, the hull is made of the right metal - all of those things because of what we learned here on the space station.
When the first people sailed out of sight of land, it wasn't their first trip. They had sailed and learned how to build space-- or sailing ships, how to - what oakum you needed, how the sails should be built, how do you keep people healthy on a long sailing voyage, before they ever started leaving sight of land. And they owed their legacy to the early sailing ships. And for those of you that leave Earth to go somewhere else, you're going to owe your legacy to both the science and the engineering that is the International Space Station.