Commander Hadfield “weak and prematurely aged” after 5 months in space



When you read articles like this, you wonder if we are anywhere near overcoming the challenges of space travel.  Just a short 5 months in space has left Canadian Chris Hadfield’s body in such a state that’s even had to learn how to use his tongue for speaking in gravity again.

Reuters reports

Back on Earth, Canadian astronaut and cyberspace tweeter Chris Hadfield is getting a rough re-introduction to gravity after a five-month stint aboard the International Space Station, the former commander told reporters during a video webcast from Houston.

Hadfield became a social media rock star with his zero-gravity version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and a continuous stream of commentary on Twitter about his life in orbit. But living without gravity for five months has left him feeling dizzy, weak and prematurely aged. A veteran of three space flights, he is wearing a pressure suit under his clothes to help his circulation as his body re-adapts to getting blood back to his brain.

“Without the constant pull-down of gravity, your body gets a whole new normal, and my body was quite happy living in space without gravity,” Hadfield, 53, said in a video conference call with Canadian reporters on Thursday, three days after returning to Earth.

“Right after I landed I could feel the weight of my lips and tongue … I hadn’t realized that I had learned to talk with a weightless tongue,” he said.

He is suffering overall body soreness, particularly in his neck and back which are again having to support his head after months in weightlessness.

“It feels like I played full-contact hockey, but it’s getting better by the hour,” Hadfield said. “The subtle things and the big things are taking some re-adaptation to get used to and they are coming back one by one.”

Hadfield, who is the first from Canada to command a space station crew, NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko landed in Kazakhstan on Monday. He and Marshburn were then flown to Houston to begin rehabilitation.

“For now, I’m still trying to stand up straight. I have to sit down in the shower so I don’t faint and fall down, and I don’t have calluses on the bottom of my feet yet, so I’m walking around like I walked on hot coals,” he said.

It usually takes about three weeks until a returning astronaut can return to driving, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

“We’re sort of tottering around like two old duffers in an old folks home,” Hadfield said, referring to his crew mate Marshburn.

If you missed Hadfield farewell performance from the International Space Station, the viral hit can be seen here.  One thing is for sure, the sudden lack of Tweets, photos and YouTube clips from space is going to leave a bit of a void, especially on the PR side of the business of space.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Mediaan

    Well, and there right there is Reason One to be a tourist in Kazakhstan.

    Reason Two is …


  • Steve (North Shore)

    Are they sure he has not just got the “Man Flu”?
    Symptoms are similar

  • BR

    The best way to deal with this on a long term basis would seem to be to have a wheel shaped space station (like they used to have in the 1960’s comics) and spin it up so that when the astronauts are walking around the perimeter they would experience a force of 1g. They could go to the middle for zero gravity entertainment.

    • Mr_V4

      Exactly, the answer to this ‘problem’ has been around since the 1960’s but they are too busy strumming guitars and other assorted PC bollocks to get on with some sort of progress.

  • Honki

    And they walked on the moon in the 60s? Yeah right….