Last week, English musician David Bowie died at the young age of 69. Whatever you think of his music, he was widely regarded as an innovator, known for the intellectual depth of his work. CNN reported that his songs spoke “of the terror in knowing what the world is about. Of turning and facing the strange. [They] were a salve for the alienated and the misfits of the world.”
One of my favorite Bowie songs is the 1969 classic “Space Oddity,” released just days before the 1969 moon landing. The composition is about what it’s like to view our planet—our pale blue dot, as astrophysicist Carl Sagan once called it—from space and the loneliness that comes from being an astronaut, the ultimate nature traveler. It reminds me that despite our always reaching for more, this world is the only one we have right now, so we must cherish it and treat it right.
Colonel Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, was commander on board the International Space Station in 2013 when he decided to test acoustics at zero gravity by singing and recording “Space Oddity,” more than 40 years after Bowie first released it to the world. One of the first astronauts to share his daily life in space on social media, Hadfield, in a final farewell tweet from the station, wrote: “With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here’s ‘Space Oddity,’ recorded on station. A last glimpse of the world.”
According to NASA, Colonel Hadfield’s video is the first music video made in space. Watch it, below. The David Bowie lyrics it contains really are a love song to the Earth, in Bowie’s own inimitable style. I will miss his artistry.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,