Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

The 10 Most Amazing Space Videos Filmed Aboard the ISS


If you’re not familiar with Chris Hadfield , the Canadian astronaut and Internet sensation aboard the International Space Station, you should be. Hadfield, who was the commander of the ISS until Sunday evening, has created some incredibly simple—and super cool—videos about life in space. The videos, often created in response to questions by Canadian grade school students, have become great educational tools as well as examples of citizen engagement done right.

As he prepares to return to Earth on Monday , we wanted to highlight his most popular videos, as determined by YouTube views, created during his five months travelling at 17,500 mph aboard the ISS.

But, before we start, if you haven’t had a chance to see the video Hadfield released last night, you must watch his cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Some might say it’s the most expensive music video ever made—yes, AND the coolest.

10. How Do You Clean Up Spills in Space?

Ever wondered what happens when you spill something in space? It’s trickier than you’d think because, as Hadfield says, “it’s not gonna fall on the floor.”

9. How Do Astronauts Shave in Space?

“Your whiskers will float off and you’ll breathe them,” says Hadfield. Shaving in space is no simple task.

8. How is Your Eyesight Affected in Space?

Research has shown that zero gravity damages the eyesight of astronauts . We’ve known that it affects bone density and muscle strength, but the deleterious effect on eyesight is a relatively new concern. Hadfield explains how they’re researching this issue.

7. Hadfield Makes a Peanut Butter Honey Sandwich

Not everything in space is dehydrated. Behold Commander Hadfield making a peanut butter sandwich. Like everything in space, it’s not a straightforward task.

6. How Do Astronauts Brush Their Teeth?

“What’d you do to wet your toothbrush and where do you spit afterwards? Those are the big questions,” explains Hadfield.

5. How Do You Clip Your Nails in Space?

Clipping your fingernails on Earth is tricky enough…but imagine if all the bits and fragments of your nails floated around your house. That’d be a problem. Hadfield explained how the astronauts aboard the ISS maintain proper hygiene.

4. How Do You Sleep in Space?

Surprisingly comfortably. As Hadfield declared on Reddit in February , "I love sleeping weightless. No mattress, no pillow, no sore shoulder, no hot spots. Just relax every muscle in your body and drift off to sleep." In this video, Hadfield takes the world inside his sleeping quarters for a little shuteye.

3. Your Tears Don’t Fall in Space

“Can you cry in space?” asks Hadfield. Watch to find out:

2. Mixed Nuts…In Space!

One of his shortest, and most popular, videos answers the burning question, “What happens to mixed nuts in space?”

1. Wringing Out a Wash Cloth in Space

With nearly 7.5 million views, Hadfield’s most popular videos came as an idea from a group of 10 th grade students. What happens when you wring out a soaking wet washcloth in space? The amazing lesson in surface tension is answer is below:

Thank you for your service to science and exploration, Commander. Welcome back to Earth!

Which video was your favorite?

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec