Florida from space
Chris Hadfield, the retired commander of the International Space Station who famously performed David Bowie's Space Oddity while in orbit, has collected 192 of his favorite photos in a whimsical new book, You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes (Little, Brown; $26). It follows last year's bestselling An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. "Who'd have thought that five months away from the planet would make you feel closer to people," mused the Canadian astronaut a few days before his return trip back to Earth in May 2013. Hadfield's mastery of the camera — and Twitter, with his son's help back on Earth — catapulted him to fame. He took about 45,000 photos in all. His fully wired son, Evan, suggested via email-to-orbit that his astronaut father ask people on Earth what they wanted him to take pictures of. "The resounding answer was, 'I want a picture of my hometown, of where I'm from,' " Hadfield told the website Quartz. "To me that was delightful. At first I thought how narcissistic. But then when I thought about it, it struck me for two different reasons: People are proud of where they are from. And they have an ache and a desire to see how they fit in with everything else. It's a dawning self-awareness, like seeing yourself in a mirror for the very first time, but on a global scale."
Plus three things I underlined in that Quartz piece:
1. "There is a fanciful notion that borders are manmade constructs and you can't see them from space. But you can, because of agricultural use, municipal patterns, even national parks."
2. "I find it intriguing to look at how our culture, economics, the invention of the automobile, all overlay and become evident just for a casual observer flying in orbit."
3. "It's almost like the will of the people is visible from space."