Chris Hadfield and William Shatner chat from space

Simon Kent, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:49 PM ET

TORONTO - Did you hear the one about the two famous Canadians?

One was in space and the other on Earth and their link was a very public phone conversation across the space-time continuum.

It’s not a joke. It really happened Thursday.

After dispensing with all the great issues of our day including the future of space travel, the possibility of visiting Mars and the importance of the human race to reach for the heavens, the two Canadians talked cottages.

As you do.

The pair in conversation was astronaut Chris Hadfield and Montreal-born actor William Shatner.

The former was orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station while the latter was sitting in a TV studio in Los Angeles. They were taking part in an international media event enabled by the Canadian Space Agency.

Shatner is the man made famous for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise in the 1960s television series Star Trek.

Hadfield is the test pilot who left for space on Dec. 19 and will take over command of the International Space Station in mid-March, the first Canadian astronaut to rise to that lofty position.

For 30 minutes they talked, with Shatner in the role of intergalactic inquisitor.

His first question was his best.

Shatner asked if the U.S. space program was “going backwards” because of the fact Hadfield was carried aloft in a Soviet-made Soyuz space vehicle.

Hadfield could only reply with a brisk “no.” He said the U.S. is currently between programs and anyway, anyone who goes into space is the heir to all who went before in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.

Ultimately the method of delivery to the International Space station remains less important than the fact that it is still there, according to Hadfield.

On they went for close to 30 minutes, agreeing on most things from the need for thorough preparation when meeting challenges in life to not fearing failure, whether that involved forgetting lines on a set or making a hazardous earth re-entry aboard a space vehicle.

Hadfield said he had volunteered for the future mission to Mars, and that astronauts will eventually reach the red planet despite the inherent risk.

“Going to Mars is inevitable ... it’s just a matter of when we figure out how,” he said. “To accomplish anything worthwhile in life, it’s going to take risk. Even if you stay at home and sit at your kitchen table, eventually the ceiling will fall. ... You can’t live a worthwhile life without risk.”

They also talked cottages. They talked about sipping whisky and smoking a cigar at the same.

You can take the boys out of Canada after all; you just can’t take the Canada out of either.

SUN MEDIA'S #AskHadfield

Chris Hadfield has agreed to answer questions from five lucky Sun Media readers. You can ask a question three ways: By clicking the link to the right, emailing us at AskHadfield@scribblelive.com or tweeting a question with the hashtag #AskHadfield between Feb. 5 and 12.

After the closing date, Sun Media staff will work with the Canadian Space Agency to select the five most unique, interesting and creative questions out of the bunch. Hadfield will then reply to the questions via video. Answers will be posted to Sun Media websites as Hadfield responds to them, anytime after Feb. 13.


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