Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

Chris Hadfield on the ISS with water bubble

By Robert T. Gonzalez from

So long, Commander Hadfield – and thanks for all the awesome!

Tonight at 7:08 ET, Commander Chris Hadfield – one of the most charismatic Commanders in the history of the International Space Station – will return … Read…

Chris Hadfield – Canadian astronaut (the first to ever serve as Commander of the International Space Station), space-musician (the first to record a music video in space), social media powerhouse, inspirational whirlwind and professional blower-of-minds – is retiring.

At a press conference held yesterday at the Canadian Space Agency’s headquarters, Hadfield told a standing-room only audience: “I’m making good on a promise I made to [my] wife nearly 30 years ago — that yes, eventually, we would be moving back to Canada.” His retirement is effective July 3rd.

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

Chris-Hadfield-Tweet“To say goodbye to these good people today,” Hadfield later tweeted, in reference to the crowd of CSA employees gathered to see him off, “was much harder than I expected”:

“I’ve had such an interesting career and after 35 years it’s time to step down,” Commander Hadfield was quoted as saying by the CBC. “I’m the last astronaut of my class that’s still around.”

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

“Chris Hadfield has inspired all Canadians, especially our next-generation of scientists and engineers,” Chris Alexander, parliamentary secretary for defense, said in a statement.

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

“His exceptional career achievements make him a true Canadian hero and icon.”

Hear, hear.

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

We wish Hadfield all the best – and while we know we shouldn’t expect him to maintain his impressive social media presence, we’re optimistic that he’ll stick around in some capacity. On a related note, we hope that more astronauts, moving forward, will take a page or two from Hadfield’s playbook when it comes to engaging with the public about science and space.

When Hadfield returned to Earth from the ISS in May, we put together a roundup of our favorite moments from his time aboard humanity’s orbital outpost. In light of his impending retirement, it seems fitting to post it here again. So long, Commander Hadfield – and, as always, thanks for all the awesome.

All images via NASA

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Why Social Media Is the Front Line of Disaster Response

Social media statistics in disasters

An infographic from Hurricane Sandy, but equally relevant in the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado yesterday.

By Zoe Fox from

Nearly one million people are affected by natural disasters each year. In the U.S. alone, some 400 people die from disasters that cost the economy $17.6 billion. Helping respond to these cataclysmic events, social media is now a go-to tool for those effected by disasters.

One in five Americans has used an emergency app. Of those Americans effected by natural disasters, 76% used social media to contact friends and family; 37% of used social media to help find shelter and supplies; and 24% used social media to let loved ones know they’re safe.

SEE ALSO: 13 Gadgets to Prepare You for a Natural Disaster

This infographic, created by our friends at USF’s Online MPA, details how social media has revolutionized communications during natural disasters.

At the bottom of the infographic, you’ll find a FEMA tweet sent during Hurrcane Sandy, which exemplifies why social media is becoming the best way to spread information during dangerous events: Phone lines can get congested, so updating social networks can be the ideal way to let loved ones know you’re okay.

Homepage image courtesy of iStockphoto, Krakozawr

“I love these guys, they make data fun: Zehnder Communications”

Infographic for cocktail festival
Infographic for cocktail festival
Top panel of infographic for cocktail festival in New Orleans last year.

By Nancy Sharon Collins from DesignEnvy:

New Orleans has two seasons: hurricane and festival. That’s it. Take your pick. Zehnder Communications—my favorite cross-media agency here—has recently announced “State of the Listen” (#TheStateOfTheListen or SOTL) to track social media buzz for everything from festivals, such as Tales of the Cocktail and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, to worldwide events like the Olympics.

SOTL pulls data from social media hits—including Twitter, Facebook, industry-specific forums and blogs—and compiles it into useful, colorful and visually compelling information. For instance, when the annual cocktail extravaganza, Tales of the Cocktail, came to town last year, SOTL could tell who was the most popular sponsor or what was the most Tweeted cocktail ingredient. (Hint: it wasn’t bacon. Bacon was sixth.) In a nutshell, Zehnder’s new SOTL collects raw data, aggregates it and makes it pretty.

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