RSS
WATCH: A Canadian astronaut performs David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in space
Chris Hadfield handed over control of the International Space Station on Sunday, but not before recording this amazing first music video in outer space

If you had to guess what was on any given astronaut's iPod, Davie Bowie's "Space Oddity" would be a pretty good pick. Bowie's dark celebration of space travel, recorded in 1969, has an ambiguously unhappy ending, but it's a great song that spins a believable tale of the loneliness ("here am I sitting in a tin can") and distant adulation ("the papers want to know whose shirt you wear") of floating above the world.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield — commander of the International Space Station (ISS) for the past five months, until he boarded a Soyuz space capsule bound for Earth on Sunday — is obviously a fan of the song. With some help from musician Emm Gryner and some video editors on Earth, Hadfield made his rendition of "Space Oddity" the first full music video recorded in space. And with the change of a few lyrics, it's also a beautiful way to bid farewell to a half-year in orbit. As he sings and tweets, this was his "last glimpse of the World."

As Lily Hay Newman says at Gizmodo, "If you can think of a better way to spend your last day in space, I'd love to hear it."

Anyone who's been following Hadfield's space adventures on Twitter or YouTube won't be surprised that the commander can sing and play guitar — he also recorded the first song in space in December (listen below) — and has been delighting Earth-bound humans with photos and videos about what life is like in space. (The Week highlighted his experiment trying to wring out a soaking-wet washcloth, and Scientific American rounds up nine other great Hadfield videos.)

Still, even with all the tweeting and ISS demonstrations, "this I did not expect," says Phil Plait at Slate. This video of "Space Oddity" "is, quite simply, amazing." David Bowie is impressed, too:

What's not to like? says Tim Hornyak at CNET News. The music video "has some stunning shots of the station zooming over our planet, as well as Hadfield's acoustic guitar drifting through a module in zero-g." And then, come on: Singing "'I'm floating in a most peculiar way' while actually floating up in space, Hadfield wins the internet."

Here, Hadfield sings his original song, "Jewel in the Night," aboard the ISS in December (the guitar has been at the station since 2001, and it's staying behind):

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian, and plays in an Austin rock band.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week