Astronaut falls in love with NZ from space

Marlborough as seen from space by Chris Hadfield
Marlborough as seen from space by Chris Hadfield

World-famous astronaut Chris Hadfield says the place on earth he would most like to visit after his space odyssey is Marlborough.

Hadfield, whose version of David Bowie's Space Oddity while orbiting the earth went viral on YouTube, spent five months as commander of the International Space Station (ISS) during which time he took thousands of photographs of earth.

Asked in a BBC interview where he would most like to visit as a result of what he had seen from above, he said: "The wine country of the South Island, at the north end, of New Zealand. It just looks so beautiful, and with the beautiful volcanic mountain at the south end of the North Island [Mt Taranaki].

"It's just so, so beautiful, that part of the world, to come across. And the beauty of New Zealand also is after you cross New Zealand you have the long passage across the Pacific so it's your real last sight of land for what's going to be, gosh, it takes almost a half hour to cross the Pacific. So looking at New Zealand is just beautiful."

Blenheim Mayor Alistair Sowman said it was highly flattering to have the famous spaceman give a shout out to the region.

"It's brilliant to have such great publicity for Marlborough. I can't think what it must look like from above, though."

He said the region was becoming increasingly cosmopolitan and would welcome any visitors from out of town, or outer space.

"Come down to Marlborough, it's a great part of the world."

The wine-growing areas were particularly popular at this time of year, but the jewel in the region's crown was the stunning Marlborough Sounds, he said.

The Canadian astronaut has embraced social media and has scores of followers. He has posted multiple videos on YouTube sharing life aboard the ISS and also partaking in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything"live chat.

A highlight came when he posted a polished video performance of himself singing David Bowie's Space Oddity while orbiting Earth. The video has had more than 20 million views.

Bowie described the cover as "possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created".

 

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