Path to Mars #957: A Blurry, Beautiful View

Globe photo by Christian Fischer. Illustration by Renate Pohl.

Globe photo by Christian Fischer. Illustration by Renate Pohl.

You may be wondering just what has been happening to Chris Hadfield during his medical tests this week after the Soyuz landing in Kazakhstan on May 14th. Back in March, I wrote a Breathing Space article on one of the issues that he may have to deal with in space, and the role art has to play in the arena of space medicine.

Here’s an excerpt from the article, A Blurry, Beautiful View:

Chris Hadfield, soon-to-be commander of the International Space Station, strums the final chords of I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing?) and releases his six-string guitar, letting it spin gently and silently in microgravity. The song, written by Hadfield and Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, and performed with the Wexford Gleeks, is a partnership project with Music Monday, CBC Music and the Canadian Space Agency. Music Monday coalition director Holly Nimmons is calling on all Canadians to learn the song and “fill the skies with music” on May 6, with Hadfield beaming down via satellite as a symbol of national connection and international cooperation. Space and art are the main ingredients holding together this inspirational and feel-good event.

It’s an event reminiscent of Guy Laliberté’s Poetic Social Mission of 2009, when the Cirque du Soleil founder became a space ringmaster for 11 days, raising money and consciousness for water usage on earth. Popular and easily accessible cultural and humanitarian events such as these make a whole lot of emotional sense against the backdrop of the earth. In fact, it is this very big shift in perspective when looking back at the earth, known as the Overview Effect, which Hadfield and Robertson allude to in their song. Astronauts who experience this effect recognize that the national and political boundaries of earth become blurred from this wider vantage point. What is not mentioned, however, is that Hadfield, due to his extended time in microgravity, may need to deal with another very big shift in perspective, one where the earth itself may become a little too blurry.

You can read the rest of the article at this link.


About Renate Pohl

Theatre Designer, Space and Stained Glass Artist, Writer.
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