Sometimes when I make a point to notice how quiet it is around me, I’ll find that it isn’t quiet at all. Bugs are the usual culprits, banding together for a thousands-strong symphony that I suspect would become increasingly maddening if that’s all I ever heard. It’s a good thing I’m not an astronaut, for the sake of both NASA and my sanity.
Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, has only been up there in orbit for less than two weeks, but he’s already a headline maker. He recently sent back a recording of the mechanical ambiance of how the ISS sounds to its astronaut inhabitants. Give it a listen here, before somebody releases the Auto-Tune remix.
It almost sounds like every dialogue-free scene from every horror movie in the last 10 years layered atop one another. It’s no wonder astronauts complain of a pronounced lack of sleep. The new light system NASA is implementing may indeed increase the melatonin in astronauts’ systems, but the noise situation seems like a more stubborn villain.
As a Christmas gift from far above the North Pole, Hadfield recorded the first song written about the ISS that was actually recorded there. And while nothing sounds like a bigger gimmick than a Christmas song sung from space, Hadfield has the gentle chops and guitar skills to pull of a song that feels like it was recorded in the relative seclusion of space, while relaying no sense of loneliness. Listen to “Jewel in the Night” here.
And if the audio side of space travel isn’t your thing, check out photos from Hadfield’s Twitter account, taken from above Canada on New Year’s Eve. It makes all those pictures of people drinking champagne in dresses and tuxedos seem kind of silly.