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An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Summary – August 2022

Author: Chris Hadfield

Short Summary
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (2013) sheds light on the lessons that an astronaut learns by training for outer space. The lessons from this rigorous training can be applied to our daily lives as well. It deals with matters of criticism, hard work, isolation, and anticipation in the words of a lifelong astronaut, Chris Hadfield.
an astronaut's guide to life on earth
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth teaches us the hardships and advantages of living in outer space by comparing these instances that occur during our life on Earth. Floating in space, spacewalking, the cool astronaut’s clothing, and orbiting around planets are not the only things an astronaut has to do. Living in outer space is not a piece of cake.

Astronauts have to stay away from their families for long periods of time. Not to mention that once you are in space zero gravity makes even the simplest tasks hard. Astronauts have to undergo hard training that requires them to learn and unlearn many of their habits. As Chris Hadfield says that he was not born with the qualities and skills to be an astronaut he had to turn himself into one.

Training, taking criticism with an open heart, hard work, anticipating problems, and coping with loneliness are some of the skills that an astronaut learns which can be useful for all of us too.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Key Points

Training Hard and Long

Astronauts have to train for several years before they can take on a mission. Then training for extra missions also requires two to four years. Being in space is not all fun and games. For one, there is very little room to live, cook, eat and sleep. You have to develop great communication skills and patience to get along with everyone on your crew. To be an astronaut, one has to be perfect. Perfect in everything that will, can, or may happen. As Margaret H. Hamilton, another astronaut puts it: “We had been told many times that astronauts would not make any mistakes. They were trained to be perfect.”

There are certain emergencies that can occur while you are orbiting around. Someone can fall severely sick or some wire may stop working. You certainly will not be expecting a surgeon to fly on another spaceship and arrive in a few minutes to conduct an operation or for an electrician to come to fix your gadgets. An astronaut’s training includes learning basic surgery, dentistry, fixing computers, and rewiring electrical panels.

Anticipating Hurdles and Problems

Life on Earth and space have many similarities but this one might be the most useful for you whether you are staying on Earth or wishing to hop on a spaceship. Astronauts train and study for years before they go on missions. They practice for situations that may never actually occur. Nonetheless, they are prepared for the worst-case scenario. Dealing with computer meltdowns, sudden fires, engine breakdowns, and surviving on leftover food. Astronauts cannot afford to panic. They are trained to put self-discipline before fight and flight response. Training beforehand for problems is useful for our lives on Earth too. This is not the same as constantly worrying. Instead, it ensures that we can survive even in the worst situations. Just like astronauts we can also anticipate our problems and develop core physical and mental skills.

An Astronauts Job Can be Highly Demanding

Astronauts spend months in training and the rest of their months in space. They are hardly free for a few weeks every year. Chris Hadfield also had to train for many months. Just like many other people he had a job that demanded most of his time. That is why he planned and realized that he won’t be there for his family on valentines day and his son’s sweet sixteen. He arranged a card and gift in advance for his wife so that she may get it on valentines day. For his son, sixteen birthday he made his crew light up the engine of the rocket. This made his son’s sixteenth birthday more special.

The key message here is that many of us may have jobs that keep us busy. We might miss birthdays, festivals, and other events. These events are important and make our loved ones feel cared for. So take time out and plan. Maybe have a small pre-celebration or schedule gifts and cards to arrive that day. Do not miss out. You can keep your loved ones closer while perusing your dreams. You will just have to improvise and plan.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Quotes

“Life off Earth is in two important respects not at all unworldly: you can choose to focus on the surprises and pleasures, or the frustrations. And you can choose to appreciate the smallest scraps of experience..” –Chris Hadfield

“If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time.” –Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Review

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth takes you on an emotional and challenging journey as an astronaut. It will make you realize that the job of an astronaut is not just orbiting around like a cloud. It is full of challenges, hard work, and criticism. The book is an interesting analogy between life on Earth and life in space. You will learn a lot from this book even if you do not like space or books about astronauts.

To Whom I Would Recommend An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

  • To the fifteen-year-old obsessed with outer spaceships and astronauts.
  • To the twenty-two-year-old space tech major who is considering applying for becoming an astronaut.
  • And to anyone who wants to learn more about anticipating problems.

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