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tv   Talk to Al Jazeera  Al Jazeera  March 17, 2015 10:30am-11:01am EDT

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the father of the modern novel. he died 400 years ago. his body was lost when the convent where he was buried was rebuilt. it is one of the most widely red tooks of all time. more on that story and the day's top stories on our website, aljazeera.com. that matters. >> it was a young boy from ontario that became the first canadian to walk in space. >> it's hard relentless. the selection process to become an astronaut is nearly impossible.
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>> the research lab a politically complicated program coordinated between 15 countries, including the u.s. and russia. >> there's's great arguments on earth over great money and territory and inertia. but in parallel with that there's a lot of cooperative things happen that we often forget. >> plus here hadfield reflect on the risks and the tragedies on the private sector space industry. >> you don't always get it right. what richard branson is doing to space travel is really hard. >> and youtube sensation. >> i wrote a bunch of stuff including a cover of david bowie space odyssey. >> i asked him about the "you are here: around the world in 92 minutes,." >> the
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latest book "you are here: around the world in 92 minutes," that incredible. >> it's a real perspective, what did in the last 92 minutes. it's a change in what you think when you go around the world that fast. >> what was your design? >> when you are going around the world that fast it is a big busy laboratory thriving place and a million things to do and there's world passing by and you take a few pictures, put a little chip in the camera, put a fresh chip in the camera, put that chip in your pocket and then you go back to work. and at the end of the day, you have a whole pocket full of the world, basically. i thought how can i filter these so it's something someone else could see. if i would take a person around the world just once what would i
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show them. >> you orbited the world, 2400 times. you considered yourself a hufnter silently silently stalking shots. what were you hunting? >> not even a wildlife photographer, a still shot photographer. which is kind of odd. when you first start taking pictures of the world you look for familiar. your eye is naturally drawn to something that you know right, there's new york city. and the next time you go around the world, there is new york city and manhattan and you can see the whole coast right up into new jersey and then you see wow, you can see up into the mountains and you see the world differently and more intimately each time. and after a couple of thousand times you're really attuned to the subtleties of it. >> what was it like when you went to the window and looked down and there's earth? >> it happened right after launch.
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launch is so overwhelmingly powerful. it only takes about eight or nine minutes, depending on what spaceship you're in eight or nine minutes to wrest yourself away from the earth, get going five miles a second, you're instantly weightless, the first thing you want to do is go to the window. it's everybody's reaction. as soon as you got the spaceship squared away you want to go out and see. first launching is ireland and england because you've crossed the atlantic so quickly. and it's almost the feeling of going into a huge cathedral where there's an un expected reverence and ah. >> what do these words mean to you, you're not in this anymore?
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>> it's sort of like to me glorifying a thermometer. human body temperature, what's it like outside or on mars? the information that the thermometer gives us is what matters. and all exploration is like that. there's lots of different ways for the information to arrive back to us. but it's what it means to us that matters. a person there sensing that temperature would be able to express it in so many different ways. and the effect of it would be so much more significant. but it's the raw human experience that's at the core of anything that matters. and that slow process of exploration that's taken us all around the surface of the world, and for the last 50 years, has taken us vertical, and for the last 14 years we've been living on the space station, that slow incremental step using all of our inventions to help us understand it, it is the human
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presence within it, is the only part that really matters. >> talk about the past 50 years. i want to talk about the future. space exploration private versus public space travel. we've seen two recent disasters, one tragically with virgin >> uh-huh. >> what are your thoughts private versus public? >> there's sort of a perception that it's always been just nasa. but of course nasa has hired private companies to build their rocket ships and their space ships since the beginning but at some point that process gets to a level of safety and understanding that maybe it doesn't have to be a government who hires a company but maybe a smaller company could hire a company, or maybe even an individual may be able at some point to be able to either send a spaceship up or a slight that somebody could supply in. we are at that point where the customer may not even be the government or smaller company or maybe even an individual could
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start from being an air traveler to a space traveler. >> you see it as the future? >> i see it as inevitable. there is nothing sacrosanct about space travel. we're figuring out one success at a time. >> you predict thread would be disaster in private space, private space sector. was it worth the risk? >> i was a test pilot before i was an are astronaut. that's an extremely risky job. i ask smiex myself what's a risk worth taking? i'm a risk taker but only do it if it's worth it. it's inevitably going so happen but one small decision at a time and occasionally one mistake at a time.
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and what's richard branson's doing with virgin galactic is really hard. he's taking a financial risk and other people's lives at risk. >> he reached down to you. >> it's a extremely large responsible to shoulder. i spoke to him just after the accident just because of the background i've had and what i was about to face with the accusation he and the grieving of the families and how to recognize that this is not -- this is not completely unknown in the lives of test pilots, you know. it's something that happens when you're pushing the edge of the envelope. someone had to figure out where the edge was and if you want it to be further away you have to take a risk. >> do you think the u.s. is investing enough in nasa, in the space program? >> enough is, you know, i would love the budget of anything that i'm working on, whether it's my household or any organization that i support, i'd love it to be increased.
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it's easy to say nasa's budget should be doubled or why are we, you know, fighting a war why are we doing this when we could be doing that? i have huge respect for the people who actually shoulder the burden of making those decision he because they don't do it light -- decisions because they don't do it lightly. what i try focus on instead is we're given this much money because we're given a level of trust, the taxpayers trust us with this much money and we need to use it to the best of our ability. don't get wrapped up by saying if we only had this much more. we have a pretty big chunk of money to do something that a lot of people are inspired by. to go to a shuttle launch where half a million people go out to watch government employees do their job. to me that was a wonderful reflection of the unspoken respect that we had, when we killed the crew of columbia, to
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not let that all go in vein, to learn a tremendous amount from what we did wrong on that space shuttle flight, make this whole thing safer, more accessible so it becomes more of a fabric of what we can all do together. >> what do you make of other countries, china, india making small advances in space travel? >> we've only been in space for 53 years as people since 1961 and sputnik was in 1957. less than the length of my life we've been flying in space, it's pretty new and there's only afew countries that have built rockets at all that can take things into orbit around the world and a tiny few that can take people into space u.s. soviet union and china. it's almost like the old exploration who could originally sail around the world, who is going to take those risks,
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invest that amount to try and reap the benefits of it? the fact now that it's a proven technology in the united states, a proven technology in russia and oproblem offing technology in china i think -- and a proving technology in china oops that carmona managed to land a rover on the moon that drove around on the moon for a while shows a lot of potential but how do you put it all together how much cooperation should there be, ul how much competition should there be? and the international space station that is up there now is an interesting and new model for us all. 15 of those leading nations of the world working together countries that always have serious arguments on the surface, that were fighting the second world war against each other against each other -- >> you make a good point. >> what is the right model for which we gauge rest of the
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earth? the international space station is a good example. >> do you think russia and united states strange relations has compromised the mission? >> it has never been easy to work internationally on the scale of the international space station. it's never been easy. i was hired as an astronaut in 1992. the soviet union had just come apart. when i was hired there was never a thought that we would have the russians as part of the nasa space program. but three years later i flew and helped build the russian space station mir, and it built the grown work for the international space station. there are great arguments about money and power and inertia and all the other reasons we argue with each other but in parallel with that there are other cooperative things we forget and some of them are big and symbolic and i think when there's the level of tension and
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congregation that exists on the surface like we have right now it is really good as a counterpoint to have some rock-solid examples of cooperative success and space station is that, right now. it flies in the face of history but it flies. and it's up there. any kid, anywhere, can walk outside and watch that fly over and think, hmm, nearly impossible. things do happen. >> i could see you going tobacco when you we're nine-year-old boy. >> yes. >> that's when you were inspired. >> i grew.in canada on grew up in canada on a farm. and watched neil and buzz and mike collins on the moon in 1969. when neil took control of that and flew it until he found smooth spot and he and buzz turned down with 16 seconds of fuel left, they made something impossible happen, they did it
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because as a species we just barely could. and so for this little canadian kid standing in wonder at nine or ten years old, it was hugely invitational. it was like someone opening a door saying you know what? this type of thing is possible. here is proof of it. these three people have just demonstrated it. and it affected my thinking for my whole life. >> it made your dreams come true. let's talk about the fun stuff. astronaut training. was it everything you expected it would be? >> everything i've done has been fun stuff. i've always been pursuing little nine-year-old boy's dreams. astronaut training is hard relentless, flying a space station is hard complex, most complicated thing we built in orbit. when i flew the russian
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soyuz many first learn russian and operate this vehicle in a language that i didn't start studying until i was 35. then i've had a chance to fly in space three times and eventually command the international space station. i worked in a high school gaining medical schools school credits. i helped film imax movies, i'm an imax cameraman of all things. to go right on the edge of what we're doing as a species -- >> it takes a special person to be an astronaut. >> the selection process to become an astronaut, is on the edge of impossible for sure. when i applied there were 5300 people sent in their resumes and they chose four of us, three of us who flew in space one lost his medical unfortunately.
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those are impossible odds, a tiny subsaid of humanity. but we need the right combination of physical health and raw mental ability and proven ability to make good decisions. and we bet everything on the astronauts. you know, we're going to spend all of this time and money training them. and then we're going to launch them in a rocket ship and count on them do all of these things right with nobody to help them. >> what do they put you through, prep you to face death in outer space. >> when i served as a test pilot that prepped me to deal with death more than anything as a astronaut. because test flying is dangerous i lost one good friend a year on average. just because of the risks of that job. and at first, you know it's a new thing and you grieve very deeply, and you recognize the risk of what you're doing. but after a while even though the scar of the grieving doesn't
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go away at least you find a way internally to deal with it. and you need to have already internalized all of that i think, the day that they call you from the space agency and say "would you like to be an stroarnt astronaut?" it is not a game. are you ready to put a significant part of your i life the next decade into something that could risk your life. that's what they're asking you when they call. >> how do you deal with fear versus danger? >> thomas if they grabbed you right now and stuck you inside a rocket ship and said in 45 minutes we're launching, if you touch the wrong switch you dies. if you don't touch the right switch, you die. you ready? so we'd never put anybody in the cockpit without enough preparation that they start to separate the danger from the fear. because if, without preparation, everything, you know if you
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don't know what to be alarmed about, everything is alarming. but if you spend enough time learning what doesn't matter and what really does matter, and what is the next thing that's going to kill me, i am not a person who will take a foolish risk, an unmeasured risk, a risk just for the you know adrenalin rush. that doesn't appeal to me. >> what does it feel like walking in space and going blind, i'll speak with chris hadfield about his scariest moment after this. >> today on "the stream". >> i'm here at south by southwest where the latest innovations in technology are making a huge splash. get a glimpse into the future on "the stream". >> "the stream". today, at 1:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
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o. >> i'm thomas drayton. you're watching "talk to al jazeera." my guest this week is astronaut chris hadfield.
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was there a heart pounding moment in space, a moment that scared you? >> the only time i felt a raw animal shiver of fear go up my back was watching a shooting star like a meet meteorite enter the atmosphere. there is darkness and then a blistering streak of light cuts across the sky. my first reaction was wow, beautiful, a shooting sar. but my thought was then, what was that, a ball one derg ancient rock coming in at 20 -- blundering rock coming in, if it was a little higher it would have hit us, instead of feeling like i was on the front of the titanic like king of the world suddenly my.spaceship felt like a little bubble.
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>> you went blind in space. wasn't that scary or dangerous? >> we only go out when we need the dexterity of human hands to go fix something or we need the cleverness of the human brain to be able to look at a problem and jiggle something into place or a complex task. i was outside on my first spacewalk. we were building the huge robot arm, the cancan cannon arm. onto the out. one of my eyes stuck shut didn't know what -- you can't wipe your eye because you have your gloves on. without gravity, tears don't fall they just stay there, it sits there as a big steadily increasing ball of tear. like jell low floating -- jello floating
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on your eye. i could still see with my other eye. but then that water crossed over to my other i'd aye and i was fully blind. i couldn't talk, it was scary, okay, i got this problem to deal with, fine can i see. i can talk to scott, i can talk to houston, maybe can i see for a while, i don't want to be blind for the rest of my life. but i he kept crying and the tears got bigger and bigger but enough that they evaporated slowly. >> it's a close team in space, three, six of you on the international space station. >> yeah, we don't randomly choose people and put them on the space station of course. in the thousand that apply, they chose four women and four men
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out of eight or 9,000 people that applied. so that's a very unique set of skills that those eight people have. and then from those they go through years of basic training, advanced training and we carefully pick a group of three whatever it is that are going to fly on the space station then they train together for years. you carefully choose a subset of humanity with a certain set of skills, train them, then you hand select a few and you train them together as a crew. and during that training period we are not just studying hydraulics or mechanics, you live at the bottom of the ocean together, live in the desert together. you become family. you probably spend more time with your crew as you do with your real family, as you train with crews around the world. and by the time you ignite, as your engines start on your rocket ship you have a psychological human bond with
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the other people that is really strong and has built a competence that supersedes yourself and you count on those people. >> like you wrote music in space. >> i wrote a whole suite including a cover of david bowie space odyssey. has been seen 25 million times. what's interesting to that goes right back to your other question is it crosses over the fantasy and daydreaming fictional side of what space travel might be, which is bowie's song written before we walked on the moon , space odyssey, that whole fanciful reality.
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this is a guy, a person up there singing that song, but -- in a place that was only fantasized about and it's real. this is part of human culture. >> this is "talk to al jazeera." stay with us.
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