Canadian astronaut appeals for peace from space
Reflecting on a recent photo he snapped from outer space of war-torn Syria, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield appealed for peace from his perch in the sky, saying Thursday: "We're all in this together."
"The perspective that we are subject to, that we are privileged enough to see directly with our eyes, is one I think would benefit everyone, to go around the world in just slightly over 90 minutes... you see it as one place," Hadfield told a news conference streamed from the International Space Station.
"And so when we do look down on a place that is currently in great turmoil or strife, it's hard to reconcile the inherent patience and beauty of the world with the terrible things that we can do to each other as people and can do to the Earth itself," he said.
On January 2, Hadfield had posted a picture of Latakia, Syria, on his Twitter account with the message: "Deceptively calm and beautiful, strife-torn on the shore on the sea. Peaceful from such a distance."
Syria has been steeped in conflict for the past 21 months, with the violence claiming the lives of more than 60,000 people, according to the United Nations.
Hadfield rocketed into space in December to become the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, which orbits the Earth from a distance of 350 kilometers (217 miles), circling the planet every 90 minutes at a speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour.
"If people, I think, could see the perspective more clearly... (they would glean) that understanding of the fact that we're all in this together," he said Thursday.
"Yes, there's important territorial issues and important personal issues but at the same time with increased communication and with increased understanding comes a more global perspective," he added.
During the news conference, his first from space, Hadfield answered a range of questions from reporters back home on on Earth, including about the end of the National Hockey League lockout, experiments being conducted on the space station and the view from his vantage point.
(c) 2013 AFP