LOS ANGELES, CA. (NEWS1130) – When you think of Canadians in space, who comes to mind first?  Commander Chris Hadfield or Captain James Tiberius Kirk?

Both were front and centre this morning as Hadfield and actor William Shatner delved into questions about exploration, fear and the viability of the space program during a live chat broadcast from the International Space Station.

Drawing upon his persona as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, Shatner launched into a litany of rather serious space questions for Hadfield, who is about to take command of the ISS.

“You have many degrees in mechanical engineering and you must see the universe in terms of how extraordinary a mechanical engineering feat it is and how mystifying it is.  Do you find yourself in the space station observing, as a scientist, removed from it or are you able to see the unifying parts of it so you become at one with the universe?” asked Shatner, by phone from Los Angeles.

“Luckily, the answer is both,” replied Hadfield who expounded upon the beauty of circling the earth and having the universe just outside the window.  “The engineer in me is, of course, very much thinking of the ship and how we got here and the difficulties, but the human in me recognizes what we are in between.”

On the topic of fear, astronaut and actor both agreed not knowing how to react to the unexpected is what makes them most afraid, and both professed to always trying to be prepared for what comes ahead.

“In my case, your face flushes and you get a sheen of flop sweat. In your case you burn up! It’s a little different,” chuckled Shatner.  “In both cases, you go down in flames,” laughed Hadfield.

The exchange lasted a little over 10 minutes with Hadfield inviting Shatner for a whisky and cigar on the porch of his cottage in northern Ontario to continue the conversation.  Shatner said he looked forward to it.

Today’s high-altitude chat was sparked by a short Twitter exchange between the two.