Astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about battling fear in space

What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you?

 

Michelle Jaworski

IRL

Published Mar 20, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 2:43 pm CDT

Former astronaut Chris Hadfield is full of great advice, and it was no different for his TED Talk.

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He spoke in front of an audience about what his time on the International Space Station taught him about fear. He already had a risky profession where, on his first shuttle flight, the odds of catastrophic failure were 1 in 38, but he pushed on anyway because he was “inspired as a youngster” and it’s what he wanted to do in life.

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But his fears came to a head when it surfaced at what looked like the worst possible moment: He went temporarily blind during a space walk after his eyes teared up and had to talk himself through it.


“Even if you’re blinded, your natural panicky reaction doesn’t happen,” he said. “‘I can hear, I can talk’… It’s not nearly as big a deal. And actually, if you keep on crying for a while, whatever that guck was in that’s in your eyes starts to dilute and you can start to see again.”

The entire Talk is worth a listen, and he even ends it with a performance of “Space Oddity,” which never gets old.

Photo via TED/YouTube

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*First Published: Mar 20, 2014, 7:42 pm CDT