Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Hadfield home, but he can't even drive his car
Astronaut still recovering from his time in space
LONGUEUIL, Que. -- Until a few days ago, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was responsible for making sure the International Space Station stayed on course.
Now that he's back on Earth, he can't even drive a car for the next few weeks.
It's been an intense adjustment period for the 53-year-old astronaut who described Thursday how, after months of floating in weightlessness, he's suddenly grappling with the painful effects of gravity.
"Right after I landed, I could feel the weight of my lips and tongue and I had to change how I was talking," Hadfield told reporters during a video news conference from Houston.
"I hadn't realized that I learned to talk with a weightless tongue."
The latest health update by Raffi Kuyumjian, his flight surgeon, said Thursday that the three-time space visitor was starting to show noticeable improvement in his walk and equilibrium.
But Hadfield was not ready to put the pedal to the metal. Kuyumjian said it usually takes about three weeks before a returning astronaut can drive a car again.
When Hadfield spoke to reporters, he said his body felt confused and banged-up by the effects of gravity after his long duration visit.
He said he had to make a conscious effort to keep his head aloft. That he was dizzy. And because the callouses were gone from his feet, his footsteps felt like walking on hot coals.
A first trip to the gym was excruciating, he said, because it felt like two people had jumped on him when he was trying to move on a mat.
Things were so different in space.
"My body was quite happy living in space without gravity," he said.
"(It's) a very empowering environment where you can touch the wall and do somersaults, where you can move a refrigerator around with your fingertips and never worry about which way was up.
"Well, that all changed when our Soyuz (capsule) slammed back into the Earth. And my body is catching up with the change. And so the symptoms are dizziness. It's like when you come off a ride at the CNE or something."
Hadfield returned to Earth on Monday night and was flown to Houston to be reunited with his wife and to undergo tests and debriefings.
Hadfield also announced that his use of social media, which earned him an international audience, won't end with his return to Earth.
He had 20,000 Twitter followers when he blasted off with Russian space colleague Roman Romanenko and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn on Dec. 19, 2012. This week back on terra firma, Hadfield was hovering around one million followers.
Hadfield said the point of using social media was not to gain fame -- but to teach people about space exploration.
"It is just too good an experience to keep to yourself," he said. "And the more people that see it and understand it, the more the benefits of space exploration will roll back into daily life for all of us."
Hadfield added that it felt rewarding to receive a message from someone who said he didn't even know Canada had a space program, until he saw Hadfield's tweets.
There were major changes at the Canadian Space Agency while Hadfield was gone.
While Hadfield was circling the globe every 92 minutes, Steve MacLean quit as head of the space agency and was replaced earlier this year by interim boss Gilles Leclerc.
But Hadfield wouldn't say if he was eager to take over the top job at Canada's space agency.
"I'm nowhere near even thinking about that yet," said Hadfield, Canada's oldest active astronaut, when asked if he wanted to be the next CSA president.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2013 A17
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 42 articles for today)9:19 PM 0
CALGARY - A man said to be well known to police is in custody after trying to take an air ...
Photo Store Gallery
- Edmonton drug dealers handing out cocaine samples to potential customers
- RCMP in New Brunswick completes investigation in python deaths, now with Crown
- Survivor of plane crash, family of dead passenger still seeking damages from airline
- Can you keep a secret? Edmonton couple reveals $50M lotto win after 7 months
- Protesters denounce Israeli offensive in Gaza, call on Harper to support peace
- Death of a Quebec mayor from insect stings underscores need to be prepared
- Canada's border agency had thousands of outdated lookout flags in system
- List of charities undergoing tax audits related to political activities
- Fruit from California recalled due to possible Listeria contamination
- Canada deports 20 members of Hungarian human trafficking syndicate
- RCMP charge Sen. Mike Duffy with fraud, breach of trust and bribery
- Ontario medical student, girlfriend among passengers of doomed Malaysian flight
- Conservative party president's 7-year-old daughter hit by minivan, killed
- Mayor of Montreal-area community dies after being stung by wasps
- Police investigate suspicious death at Pemberton, B.C. Music Festival
- Canadian teacher detained in Jakarta jail on accusations of child sexual assault
- Duffy accused of charging for personal trainer, makeup artist, funeral travel
- Big Lake Ontario shark hoax shows risks posed by viral marketing, experts say
- New report questions Canadian Ukraine election monitoring missions
- Cdns at odds with Harper gov't priorities: Finance Canada focus-group report
- Family of missing boy, grandparents won't give up on finding them alive
- Moms change diapers, Dads form leaders: Justice minister's emails to staff
- Calgary police confirm violent incident in case of missing boy, grandparents
- $20,000 per person:Activists push for guaranteed minimum income for Canadians
- 'We're lucky to have her in our lives;' baby survives crash that killed mother
- Suspect in case of missing grandparents and child to make court appearance
- Investigators bring in boat in search near Calgary-area acreage in missing family case
- Calgary police say there are other leads in case of missing boy, grandparents
- Police say search near Airdrie part of probe into missing Calgary residents
- Ex-wife of B.C. homicide victim says man conned her; both appeared on Dr. Phil
Ads by Google